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S&P/ASX 200 dips below flat line for the first time this week

US West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices surged to a 11-week high of US$41.82 per barrel on hopes that OPEC+ will delay a planned increase in oil output.

THC Global Group Ltd - S&P/ASX 200
Pfizer confirmed its COVID-19 vaccine was more effective than previously reported.

S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) is lower for the first time this week but has regained some of the early losses and was trading 0.07% down at 6526 by about 1.49 pm.

The muted opening for the index follows overnight losses on Wall Street as investors remain focussed on new lockdown measures in parts of the US which are likely to hamper economic growth.

Insurers fall; Bluescope Steel surges

The biggest losses are for the insurance names including QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) which is down 3.55% while Suncorp (ASX:SUN) is 3.24% lower.

Insurers have lost a case in the NSW Court of Appeals in relation to a business interruptions cover relating to COVID-19.

Bluescope Steel (ASX:BSL) is a big gainer today, rising 5.82% after the steel producer lifted its 1H21 underlying earnings guidance by ~40% from the same time last year to $475 million.

The surge in expected profit is driven by stronger demand in materials for home building in the US.

Top gainers

Today’s top gainers on the ASX include THC Global Group Ltd (ASX:THC) (+9.30%), Oakdale Resources Ltd (ASX:OAR) (+9.52%), Andromeda Metals Ltd (ASX:AND) (+15.52%), PNX Metals Ltd (ASX:PNX) (+12.50%), Linius Technologies Ltd (ASX:LNU) (+21.43%), Brookside Energy Ltd (ASX:BRK) (+20.00%), Boadicea Resources Ltd (ASX:BOA) (+14.29%) and Engage:BDR Ltd (ASX:EN1) (+16.67%).

Proactive news headlines:

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Moho Resources hits high-grade gold up to 2 metres at 18 g/t in drilling at East Sampson Dam

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Bardoc Gold drilling confirms growth potential of Sigma Lode at 1.7-million-ounce Aphrodite gold deposit

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Archer Materials takes big steps in advancing 12CQ quantum computing chip towards qubit control milestone

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