ASX up 0.25pct as Brambles confirms talks

Industrials and technology were the biggest gainers, while health care lost ground. -AAP Image

The Australian share market has closed modestly higher, putting together a two-day winning streak for the first time this month. 

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed on Monday up 17.9 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 7,093 points, while the broader All Ordinaries gained 18.5 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 7,326.2.

"It's a decent bounce, but we're still very much on tenterhooks," said Ben Le Brun, a market analyst at the Australian Stock Report.

"The big three things at the moment are the China lockdowns, Russia/Ukraine war, and of course uncertainty about central banks. 

"That's a vicious cocktail at the moment in the global markets, so if we can at least (get) one shoe to drop with some certainty around one of those issues, we might be in for a bit of a sustained relief rally," Mr Le Brun said. 

"But we've learned this lesson many times, uncertainty, that's the worst thing possible for share markets, and we're getting that in spades at the moment. So, fingers crosses, we get a nice result from Wall Street tonight."

Brambles accounted for more than a quarter of the market's gains, climbing 11.2 per cent to an eight-month high of $11.60 after the pallets giant confirmed it had received an unsolicited tentative takeover offer from global private equity giant CVC Capital Partners.

The ASX50 blue chip has a market cap of $15 billion, so an acquisition would be one of Australia's biggest, although behind last year's Square/Afterpay merger and the buyout of Sydney Airport.

"It instils some market confidence," Mr Le Brun said of the offer, which reportedly values Brambles at $20 billion. "And that's really what it needs at the moment, a shot in the arm."

Brambles' gains helped lift the industrial sector 2.4 per cent; technology was the next-biggest gainer among the ASX's 11 official sectors, rising 2.1 per cent after last week's sell-off. Xero was up 4.4 per cent and Block climbed 3.8 per cent.

All four big banks gained ground, with Westpac leading the way with a 1.6 per cent rise to $24.38. ANZ climbed 0.8 per cent to $25.58, NAB rose 0.6 per cent to $31.32 and CBA added 1.0 per cent to $103.33.

Macquarie slid 1.9 per cent, while Suncorp added 1.5 per cent to a three-month high of $12.03.

The heavyweight mining sector was down 0.5 per cent, however, with losses for all the big iron ore giants.

BHP fell 1.2 per cent to $45.31, Rio Tinto dropped 1.1 per cent to $104.40 and Fortescue declined 2.2 per cent to $18.96.

Goldminers were up, with Northern Star, Newcrest and Evolution all rising by between 0.8 and 1.3 per cent.

Galileo Mining soared 58.3 per cent to an all-time high of 85c, after the junior explorer last week announced a "major" palladium-platinum discovery at its Norseman project in WA.

Step One Clothing plummeted 56 per cent to 21c, its lowest level since its debut on the ASX last November, after downgrading its full-year earnings guidance.

The direct-to-consumer bamboo underwear company said it now expected to earn $7 million to $8.5 million, down from $15 million previously forecast, in part because its expansion into the US market hasn't gone as expected.

Integrated Research fell 14.7 per cent to a 10-year low of 58c after the payment software company announced that while sales had been strong in the Asia Pacific, "the second half turnaround anticipated for the Americas is yet to materialise".

The Australian dollar was buying 69.06 US cents, from 68.94 US cents when the ASX closed on Friday.


The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished up 17.9 points, or 0.25 per cent, to close at 7,093 on Monday.

The All Ordinaries index gained 18.5 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 7,326.2.


One Australian dollar buys:

69.06 US cents, from 68.94 US cents when the ASX closed on Friday.

89.22 Japanese yen, from 88.77 yen.

66.26 Euro cents, from 66.28 cents.

56.38 British pence, from 56.49 pence.

110.32 NZ cents, from 110.37 NZ cents.