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ASX up 0.36% at noon: RBA governor denies Australia’s inflation lag

Reserve Bank governor Michele Bullock dismissed the notion that Australia lags behind in addressing inflation concerns, emphasising their efforts to slow the economy and bring inflation within the target range. She anticipates that inflation will eventually return to the RBA’s 2% to 3% target band in the coming years, while maintaining a cautious approach to ensure employment gains are preserved, as long as inflation expectations remain stable.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.36 per cent higher at 7,225.10.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 16 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Consumer Staples, up 1.00 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Utilities, down 0.12 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Cochlear (ASX:COH), trading 2.36 per cent higher at $293.77. It is followed by shares in Mercury NZ (ASX:MCY) and Boral (ASX:BLD).

The worst-performing large cap is Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC), trading 3.48 per cent lower at $6.10. It is followed by shares in IDP Education (ASX:IEL) and EBOS Group (ASX:EBO).

Asian news

Asia-Pacific markets edged higher Tuesday, with Japan stocks leading gains for a second straight session ahead of the final U.S. Federal Reserve meeting of the year.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 opened 1.06% higher, after closing up 1.6% in the previous session. The broader Topix rose 0.5%.

Producer prices in Japan have risen at a faster-than-expected pace, notching a 0.3% gain year-on-year compared with the 0.1% rise estimated by economists polled by Reuters.

The Fed’s two-day meeting kicks off Tuesday, and the U.S. central bank is expected to maintain the Federal Funds rate steady in the 5.25%-5.5% range.

The Japanese yen showed some strength against the dollar, trading about 0.1% higher at 146.04 as investors will be keenly watching the impact of the Fed’s decision on the dollar/yen pair.

Market players will also assess the U.S. November inflation figures out late Tuesday, which are expected to come in at 3.1%, according to a Reuters poll. This figure is slightly lower than the 3.2% seen in October.

South Korea’s Kospi opened 0.41% higher, while the smaller Kosdaq index gained 0.2%.

Futures for Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index stood at 16,344, pointing to a weaker open after the HSI hit fresh one-year lows on Monday.

Company news

Midas Minerals (ASX:MM1) announced a pegmatite discovery returns up to 7.25% lithium oxide at the Reid-Aylmer Project. The Company will immediately apply for a drilling
permit on the tenements over the Argus pegmatite. Shares are trading 8.7 per cent higher at 12.5 cents.
Riversgold (ASX:RGL) announces that it has intercepted +100m wide gold at the Northern Zone Intrusive Hosted Gold Project located 25 km east of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. In response, David Lenigas, Chairman of RGL, said, “with the Australian dollar gold price now pushing through $3,100 an ounce, the commerciality of these types of large-scale lower grade gold deposits becomes significantly more viable.” Shares are trading 3.57 per cent lower at 1.35 cents.

Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT) has entered into a binding agreement with Charger Metals (ASX:CHR) to offload their minority interest in the Lake Johnston Lithium Project. The largely unexplored Lake Johnston Greenstone belt now hosts multiple spodumene discoveries and with the recent focus and increasing exploration activity could evolve into a prominent lithium province. Shares are trading 3.57 per cent higher at 2.9 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1998.80 an ounce.

Iron ore is 0.4 per cent lower at US$136.85 a tonne.

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 0.31 per cent rise.

One Australian dollar is buying 65.66 US cents.

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