ASX drops 0.3pc as hot inflation tests new year rally

The S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.3 per cent, or 22.1 points, to 7468.3 on Wednesday, while the broader All Ordinaries Index fell by a similar amount to 7688.

The spike in bond yields weighed on the technology sector, which fell 1.2 per cent on Wednesday; Novonix declined 4.8 per cent to $1.80, Xero dropped 2.8 per cent to $74.17 and Iress fell 2.7 per cent to $9.62.

The energy sector was the biggest laggard as mixed corporate earnings in the US triggered concerns about a slowdown in the world’s largest economy, dragging oil prices down by about 2 per cent overnight.

Woodside Energy declined 1.2 per cent to $37.31 despite beating its guidance for full-year production on the back of a strong December quarter when its oil and gas output edged up to a record.

However, revenue in the three-month period slipped 12 per cent from the September quarter to $US5.16 billion, which Woodside attributed to reduced trading activity and lower realized prices.

Santos has been ordered by the offshore petroleum regulator to check for culturally significant sites across the pipeline route at its Barossa gas project in the Timor Sea just weeks before construction was due to begin. The stock fell 1.6 per cent to $7.24.

Shares in Mineral Resources declined from their record high achieved on Tuesday after the miner pushed back the expansion of its Mt Marion operations due to labor shortages and the delayed supply of processing equipment.

The company reduced its FY23 shipped guidance for the operation and increased its cost guidance. Shares in MinRes dropped 2.2 per cent to $94.20.

News Corp jumped 6.3 per cent to $29.93 on news that Rupert Murdoch has scrapped plans to merge the company with Fox Corporation because the combination “is not optimal for shareholders”.

Logistics software giant WiseTech Global made its largest acquisition to date, buying transport management system software company Envas Technologies for $US230 million ($325 million). The stock edged 0.1 per cent higher to $56.10

Gold miners retreat

St Barbara plunged 21.4 per cent to 70¢ after the gold miner reported that it produced 60,976 ounces of the precious metal in the December quarter at an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $2666 per ounce.

St Barbara said it remains on track to deliver towards the lower end of production guidance and the higher end of AISC guidance for the 2023 financial year.

Fellow gold miner West African Resources achieved its 2022 output guidance after reporting 229,224 ounces at an AISC of $US1086 an ounce. Shares fell 7.5 per cent to $1.17.

Regis Resources kept its output and AISC guidance for the 2023 financial year unchanged after reporting its quarterly results. The stock eased 0.4 per cent to $2.27.

Ramelius Resources fell 5 per cent to $1.05 after reporting gold production of 56,756 ounces in the December quarter at an AISC of $2153 an ounce. The company kept its FY23 gold output and AISC guidance unchanged.

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