Inflation data sends tech flying

Oil prices soared again as the European Union considered proposals for a complete ban on imports of Russian crude. Benchmark Brent crude futures firmed 0.6% to US$116.20, while US WTI oil futures rose 0.7% to US$115.90.

Iron ore prices rose 2.4% to $134.45 a tonne on a strong day for commodities, boosted by news of falling coronavirus cases in China as Beijing braced ease restrictions on movement and public gatherings.

On the&The best performing P/ASX 200 of the day was buy now, pay later player Zip Co. It climbed 14% to 97.5¢, but is still down 86.2% over the past 12 month. ASX-listed chess deposit instruments in the proprietary Afterpay block jumped 10.9% to $129.85.

Elsewhere in the battered tech sector, shares of cloud accounting firm Xero soared 5.2%, with software logistics firm WiseTech up 3.8%.

Rally risk spilled over into cryptocurrency bitcoin, which added 4.8% to US$30,422 at the closing bell. The Australian dollar gained 0.4% to buy 71.9¢ US.

The benchmark’s worst performer was artificial intelligence and labor recruiting group Appen. It fell 3.7% to $6.30 and the stock is now down 23.8% over two trading sessions since potential takeover partner Telus International dropped a 1.2 billion dollars.

The star of the market was goat-based infant formula maker Bubs Australia, after US President Joe Biden took to Twitter to announce that his government had signed a deal to buy 27.5 million bottles of infant formula from United States.

Shares of Bubs soared as much as 77.3% on the news to an intraday high of 86¢, although they pared some of their gains during the afternoon to close at 48.5¢.

Shares of energy retailer and coal-fired power plant operator AGL Energy closed 1.7% at $8.72 after scrapping long-running plans to spin off its coal retail business and electricity.

The president resigns

The company scrapped its plans after activist shareholders led by Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes demanded a change in plans.

Mr Cannon-Brookes’ purchase of an 11.28% stake in April and May made it unlikely that the company could obtain 75% shareholder approval required by investors at a June 15 meeting.

In response to the developments, AGL announced that chairman Peter Botten would step down from the board upon appointment of a replacement independent chairman. Graeme Hunt will also step down as Chief Executive and Managing Director.

ANZ Bank shares closed 0.2% higher after acknowledging the regulator’s initiation of civil proceedings ASIC against the bank for allegedly misleading its customers about available funds and credit card account balances.

In resources, Liontown Resources, a hard rock lithium explorer based in the Northern Territory, said it had mutually agreed with Tesla to extend the termination date of its squeeze term sheet until June 6. June.

Agreement with Tesla covers supply of up to 150,000 dry metric tons per year of spodumene concentrate produced in Kathleen Valley, which is expected to begin in 2024.

This represents approximately one-third of the project’s initial production capacity of 500,000 tonnes per year.

Elsewhere, commercial property group Australian Unity Office Fund (AOF) has received a non-binding indicative proposal from Aliro Group to acquire all issued shares in AOF for $2.45 cash per share.

U.S. stock markets are closed for the Memorial Day holiday Monday. In the eurozone on Monday (Tuesday AEST), Germany is due to release inflation data, with France and Italy due to report on Tuesday.

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