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ASX 200 morning report – TLS, MIN & SIQ shares in focus

The S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) gained another 0.3% on Monday with the ASX mining and energy sectors providing a significant boost to begin the week, up 1.1% and 2.6%, respectively.

Mineral Resources Limited (ASX: MIN) was the standout, gaining 9% after announcing its mothballed Wodgina lithium mine would be restarting in light of the boom in the price of the commodity in recent months.

Technology and the increasingly digital industrials sectors were the only detractors as concerns remain on the valuation hit of higher bond rates.

Telstra’s big deal

Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) delivered the news of the day, gaining 2.1% after confirming it had teamed up with the Australian Government to purchase Digicel’s South Pacific telecommunications business for US$1.6 billion.

The deal keeps the company out of Chinese hands, with Telstra contributing just US$270 million in equity, supported by a significant amount of government loans.

The business is seen to be ‘commercially attractive’ with the government essentially underwriting the geopolitical risk.

ANZ takes on BNPL

ANZ Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) has taken the opposite route to the 500 plus BNPL groups, lobbing a $100 million bid for Cashrewards (ASX: CRW).

Cashrewards is a membership style business offering cash back to consumers for spending on certain products, but has struggled to become profitable.

Origin sells part of AP LNG

Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) gained another 3.9% after announcing the sale of a strategic 10% stake in the Australia Pacific LNG project for $2.12 billion.

Origin will retain 27% of the business after the deal, which allows the group to crystalise an investment it has held since construction and now into operation.

The decision de-risks its position, allows for further capital into the business and will support the expansion of its renewable energy program.

Elsewhere, Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) gained close to 4% after announcing it will build a $1 billion hydrogen plant in Perth in an effort to begin exporting low carbon energy.

Smartgroup deal pulled by private equity

Shares in Smartgroup Corporation Ltd (ASX: SIQ) fell by more than 10% after the TPG-led private equity consortium looking to take over the business decided to reduce its offer to $9.25 per share from $10.35.

The board rebuked the downgrade and ultimately the offer was pulled, with investors querying what they saw in the due diligence process that resulted in such a devaluation.

ASX 200 today

Looking ahead, the ASX 200 is expected to push higher when the market opens on Tuesday, following a positive lead from US markets overnight.

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) shares soared nearly 13%, while the opposite was true for Pinterest (NSYE: PINS). To find out more, check out my US stock market report.

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Disclosure: At the time of publishing, Drew owns shares in Origin Energy.

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