ASX rises after four days of losses, BHP investors approve climate plan

The Australian share market has recouped the week's losses and big miner BHP has won approval from investors for its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Key points:The ASX 200 index rose 0.8pc to 7,443, the All Ordinaries rose 0.8pc to 7.766 and the Australian dollar fell 0.14pc to 72.86 US cents at 4:30pm AEDTThe Dow Jones index fell 0.4pc 35,921, the S&P 500 edged up by 0.05pc to 4,649 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.5pc to 15,704The FTSE 100 in London rose 0.6pc to 7,384, the DAX in Germany added 0.10pc to 16,083 and the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.2pc to 7,060

The market surged more than 1 per cent during Friday's trade, after four days of losses, as iron ore and copper prices jumped as Chinese property giant Evergrande again managed to stave off default, with Beijing working behind the scenes to keep the heavily indebted property developer afloat. 

That saw iron ore prices rise above $US90 a tonne.

By the close, the benchmark ASX 200 index came off its highs, but still rose 0.8 per cent to 7,443, while the broader All Ordinaries also increased 0.8 per cent to 7.766. 

Mining and oil stocks led the gains with nearly all sectors higher aside from the healthcare sector. 

Top stocks were building materials supplier James Hardie (+5.2pc), nickel miner IGO (+4.8pc), and Canadian focused iron ore miner Champion Iron (+4.7pc). 

Going down were Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (-3.2pc), mapping firm Nearmap (-2.9pc), and mining contractor Monadelphous Group (-2.9pc).

The Australian dollar fell 0.14 per cent to 72.86 US cents at 4:30pm AEDT as the greenback rose to a 16-month high on the prospect of higher US interest rates following October's strong inflation data.

Oil prices edged lower on the higher greenback with Brent crude oil at $US82.62 (-0.3pc) a barrel at 4:30am AEDT.

Spot gold also fell slightly to at $US1,858.22 (-0.2pc) an ounce.

An orange BHP logo on a grey background.
A majority of investors approved BHP's climate transition plan at the company's annual general meeting.(ABC News: Keane Bourke)

BHP investors back climate action

Stronger iron ore and copper prices boosted mining giant BHP with its shares surging 2.8 per cent to $37.70.

The company gained approval for its climate transition action plan, with 84.5 per cent of votes cast by Australian shareholders at its annual general meeting, in favour of the roadmap. 

Nearly 12 per cent of investors voted against the plan, with London shareholder advisory groups saying the roadmap lacked detail. 

The mining giant has promised to achieve net zero emissions in its operations, including steel mills and shipping companies, by 2050.

BHP chairman Ken MacKenzie said the miner had clear goals and targets in place to combat global warming. 

"BHP's climate action transition plans are well developed and … have been strongly endorsed by our shareholders," he said. 

This week, BHP said it would sell a stake in BHP Mitsui Coal, which mines coking coal in Queensland. Coking coal is used to make steel.

It is still trying to sell its Mount Arthur thermal coal mine in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales and Mr Mackenzie conceded a sale was proving "challenging" and he said "all options remained on the table".

Mount Arthur coal mine, Muswellbrook
BHP is trying to sell its giant Mount Arthur thermal coal mine in the NSW Hunter Valley.(Supplied)

Fortescue Metals Group last month set a 2040 target to achieve net zero customer emissions.

Investor advisory group the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) dubbed BHP's climate action plan "a greenwash". 

Dan Gocher, director of climate and environment at the ACCR accused BHP shareholders of rubber stamping a plan that was "lacking in ambition".

"Given BHP would have been expecting shareholder support to exceed 95 per cent, this level of opposition demonstrates that a significant number of shareholders expect BHP to go further," he said. 

"This is the lowest 'Say On Climate' vote globally since the mechanism was introduced earlier this year. Even still, it is disappointing to see investors fail to match their words at COP26 with action."

a shopper wearing a face mask leaving a woolworths shop
Woolworths says it will use 100 per cent renewable power in just four years time. (AAP: James Gourley)

Woolworths renewable power promise

Supermarket giant Woolworths has pledged to use only renewable power in its operations by 2025, becoming the largest Australian firm to join global renewable energy initiative RE100.

The supermarket chain is one of the country's Australia's largest energy users, but is targeting "net positive" carbon emissions by at least 2050.

RE100 is a global initiative bringing together the world's most influential businesses with combined revenue of $US6.6 trillion ($9.1 trillion) committed to renewable power.

Woolworths said its commitment to RE100 would reduce emissions and create clean energy jobs across Australia.

Chief executive Brad Banducci said the company used about 1 per cent of Australia's electricity.

"We're proud to be joining RE100 and contributing to the collective effort towards a greener future," he said.

"Moving to 100 per cent renewable electricity is the right thing to do, and something a growing number of our customers, team members and shareholders expect us to lead on."

Mr Banducci said Woolworths would invest tens of millions of dollar into renewable energy partnerships and new green energy projects.

The retailer has installed a network of solar panels in more than 150 locations nationally and will sign agreements with wind and solar power firms.

RE100 Australian coordinator Jon Dee said he was delighted Woolworths would join RE100.

"As Australia's largest retailer, Woolworths is demonstrating that renewable energy not only makes environmental sense, it makes business sense too," he said.

"With Woolworths joining RE100, we expect that this will trigger a domino effect across Australia, with many more businesses stepping up to transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity."

Woolworths has more than 3,000 stores across the country and employs more than 200,000 people serving 29 million customers every week.

Nearly 270 companies have joined RE100 globally, including 14 companies in Australia worth almost $438 billion. Among them are Woolworths, Westpac, Suncorp, QBE, Macquarie, Atlassian and ANZ.

Woolworths shares rose 0.7 per cent to $39.47.

Wall Street mixed 

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq inched higher overnight, with chipmakers helping the indices resume their climb after hotter-than-expected inflation reports dampened investor sentiment and halted a streak of record closing highs.

Walt Disney fell in the wake of a disappointing earnings report, dragged the Dow into the red.

Oliver Pursche, senior-vice president at Wealthspire Advisors in New York, said the market was rebounding from yesterday's sell-off. 

"This story has not changed much," he said.

"We're going to continue to make improvements in the economy, to have pretty strong earnings growth."

"Yes, there are going to be COVID-related headwinds, but those are going to disappear." 

The bond market was closed for Veterans Day. In the absence of economic data and with the third-quarter earnings season winding down, there were few catalysts to move markets in either direction.

Investors favoured growth over value and economically sensitive smaller firms outperformed the broader market.

With US inflation jumping last month, investors are worried the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, may raise interest rates sooner rather than later. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4 per cent 35,921, the S&P 500 edged up by 0.05 per cent to 4,649 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.5 per cent to 15,704.

Miners led the gains on the S&P 500, while utilities led the fall. 

Shares of Walt Disney sank 7 per cent to $US162.23 and were the heaviest drag on the Dow following its disappointing earnings release, in which the media company reported shortfalls in streaming subscribers and theme park revenues.

Electric car maker Rivian Automotive's shares jumped by one-fifth a day after closing 29 per cent above its offer price in its debut as a publicly traded company. 

Rival Lucid Group shares jumped by 9.6 per cent. 

But Tesla slipped 0.2 per cent following news that chief executive Elon Musk sold about $US5 billion ($6.9 billion) of the stock in the company over the last few days, following his infamous Twitter poll on whether he should shed 10 per cent of his shares in the firm he founded.

European stocks rise

European stocks gained some ground. 

The FTSE 100 in London rose 0.6 per cent to 7,384, the DAX in Germany added 0.10 per cent to 16,083 and the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.2 per cent to 7,060.


Posted 11 Nov 202111 Nov 2021Thu 11 Nov 2021 at 8:40pm, updated 12 Nov 202112 Nov 2021Fri 12 Nov 2021 at 6:04amShareCopy linkFacebookTwitterArticle share optionsShare this onFacebookTwitterLinkedInSend this byEmailMessengerCopy linkWhatsApp


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