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ASX 200 morning report – mining and energy boost market

The Australian share market followed Wall Street on Thursday, sharing the American market’s optimism that the Federal Reserve could tame inflation without triggering a recession.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) finished Thursday up 0.8% while the broader S&P/All Ordinaries (ASX: XAO) rose just under 1%.

Every sector finished in the green except for financials, which were flat as three of the big banks and Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) lost ground. Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) was down 6 cents to $24.01, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ASX: ANZ) down 47 cents to $26.91, National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) eased 19 cents to $32.25, and Macquarie closed $2.07 lower at $202.66. But CBA bucked the financials trend, up 73 cents to $103.71.

Global insurer QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX: QBE) improved 5.5% to $12.68 after announcing that its gross written premium rose 19% in the first quarter, compared to a year ago.

Old King Coal in the pink of health

The ASX energy and materials sectors had good days, rising 2.0% and 1.5%, respectively.

The energy names were led by the coal producers, with Whitehaven Coal Ltd (ASX: WHC) jumping 4.1%, New Hope Corporation Limited (ASX: NHC) closing up 5.4%, and Yancoal Australia Ltd (ASX: YAL) surging 7.4%.

Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) gained 2.2% while Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) added 1.4%.

Among the miners, iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) added 3.5%, BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) edged higher by 5 cents to $47.45 and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) advanced 0.4%.

Lithium rise continues

Lithium producers Liontown Resources Limited (ASX: LTR) and Pilbara Minerals Ltd (ASX: PLS) were on a tear. Liontown shares jumped 7.7%, with the stock now gaining 250% in a year, as lithium prices have soared. Pilbara Minerals lifted 7.6% to $2.83.

Elsewhere, African-based uranium miner Paladin Energy Ltd (ASX: PDN) was up 5 cents, or 6.5%, to 82 cents.

ASX losers

Among the losers for the day, global funds manager Janus Henderson Group CDI (ASX: JHG) plunged $5.66, or 13%, to a three-month low of $37.76, after reporting that assets under management dropped 8% during the March quarter.

Health and beauty products company BWX Ltd (ASX: BWX) also had a day to forget, slumping 38 cents, or 20.6%, to a three-year low of $1.48 after saying that recent acquisitions and investments in people and marketing had not yet flowed through into revenue growth.

A highlight for the day came in the foreign exchange market, where the Australian dollar posted its biggest daily gain in more than a decade, surging 2.2% to 72.4 US cents.

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