ASX Large Caps: War Worries Send Gold, Oil Stocks Soar

Local stocks rose today. Investors hunkered down, betting on gold producers fearing that Russia could invade Ukraine this week.

Australian gold stocks supported the ASX 200, which closed 0.28% higher, challenging Wall Street and other major Asian markets today.

The US S&P 500 fell sharply by 2% on Friday, while major Asian indexes like Nikkei and HangSeng also fell around 2% today.

Gold producers like Regis Resources (ASX: RRL), Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) and Northern Resources (ASX:NST) rose more than 8% as the price of gold broke above the US$1,850 level to trade at US$1,853 per ounce.

Among the sectors, energy was the best performer with an increase of more than 3%. The possibility of war has recently pushed crude oil prices towards the US$100 level, with Brent now trading at US$95.60.

The Aussie dollar is holding firm at the US$0.71 handle, trading at US$0.712 at the time of this writing.

Meanwhile, the US Fed has called for a “fast track” meeting later today (US time).

The unscheduled meeting is expected to discuss interest rates, and some commentators described it as an “emergency meeting” while others say this type of meeting is a “fairly regular occurrence”.

BIG CAP WINNERS

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Beach Energy (ASX: BPT) jumped 8% to a 10-month high after its net profit soared 66% to $212.9 million, largely due to high gas and oil prices.

Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN)Blackstone’s board of directors has approved Blackstone’s $8.9 billion takeover bid. The acquisition is however still subject to approval by the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board and other gaming regulators.

Westpac (ASX:WBC) rose nearly 5% today after repurchasing its own shares on the open market, completing the previously announced $3.5 billion buyback.

Gold producers Regis Resources, Evolution Mining and oil stocks like Santos Energy, Woodside (ASX:WPL) are some of the companies that grew on war concerns.

BIG LOSERS CAP

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Novonix (ASX:NVX) and Brainchip (ASX:BRN) fell 10% and 8% respectively on broader risk sentiment against tech stocks, after the Nasdaq fell more than 3% on Friday.

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Felix J. Dixon