EV battery manufacturer Novonix gains 9pc as critical minerals boosted, but ASX closes down – ABC News

Instability and inflation are continuing to weigh on global markets, with the Australian market finally coming down off a winning streak to follow sentiment down.

At 2pm AEDT the ASX 200 had been up 0.4 per cent to 7,544 points. That took it to a 50-day trading high, and was a continuation of a six-day streak.

However, in late afternoon trade the benchmark traded down and finished 0.2 per cent off at 7,500 points.

Global markets, including the major index in Europe and the Nasdaq on Wall Street, made notable losses overnight as inflation data and instability spooked investors.

Some of the top-performing stocks on the ASX 200 on Thursday were miners Champion Iron, BHP and Whitehaven Coal, which were all up between 2 and 5 per cent.

The price of iron ore and many other commodities is continuing to rise amid the war in Ukraine.

The ASX 200’s top performer was battery and tech company Novonix, which gained 9.3 per cent. 

That was after news reports on Thursday that the United States has agreed to invest more in Australian critical minerals projects, which could further boost the resources sector.

Everything from lithium to zinc is in higher demand globally for renewable energy projects.

The critical minerals sector also got a $250 million boost in this week’s federal budget.

A white car lifted up in a auto electricians workshop with its boot open and a battery pack in the backA white car lifted up in a auto electricians workshop with its boot open and a battery pack in the back
Companies that are involved in battery production are up on the ASX, as critical minerals investment grows.

Tech was down as investors sold off stocks bought in recent days. 

Retail chain Harvey Norman was the biggest loser of the day (-6.1pc) while plumbing and bathroom supplier Reece lost 4.4 per cent.

Both operate in the consumer goods sector that is being hit with inflation and supply chain concerns.

Wall Street and European markets trend down

Both Wall Street and the European majors ended in the red overnight (local time) as hopes for peace talks for Ukraine and Russia failed to end the conflict.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down by 0.7 per cent, with retail stocks shedding 2.7 per cent to lead losses.

Gas stocks gained 3 per cent, as concerns about supply lifted, driving up prices.

Germany and Austria, which buy a lot of gas from Russia, have started contingency planning for what to do if their supply is curtailed.

Meanwhile, early inflation figures out of Germany and Spain have showed price spikes there are continuing.

“Ahead of the EU wide inflation readings due for release on Friday, overnight Germany and Spain recorded their largest price increases since reunification in the early 1990s (or 1985 prior to unification),” NAB notes. 

Spain’s inflation jumped 9.8 per cent annually while Germany leapt to 7.6 per cent.

The European Central Bank’s president Christine Lagarde is warning that those price hikes could get worse and the conflict is posing “significant risks to growth”.

“Reaction to the inflation data and Lagarde’s comments triggered a sell-off of EU yields led by the front end of the curve,” NAB notes.

christine lagarde on trial in parischristine lagarde on trial in paris
The European Central Bank’s president Christine Lagarde is warning that the effects of inflation and instability will continue to press on the region’s economy.(Reuters: Charles Platiau)

Wall Street also ended a four-day winning streak overnight.

The S&P 500 fell 0.63 per cent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq shed 1.2 per cent, and the Dow Jones dropped much less at 0.2 per cent off.

The price of Brent crude jumped again on concerns about supply and the war.

By 7:45am AEDT, it had gained 2.1 per cent to $US112.57 a barrel.

The Aussie dollar was buying around 75.20 US cents overnight. 

“Once the impact of the war fades, AUD is well positioned to trend higher over the rest of this year,” ANZ notes.

“USD declined overnight despite a lack of signs of a de-escalation in the Russia Ukraine tensions.

“The war will increasingly fade as a major driver of currencies. 

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