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ASX claws back ground after $41 billion nosedive


Shares bounce back, Victorian budget disappoints, mixed unemployment result

The ASX200 (ASX: XJO) clawed back most of Wednesday’s losses, adding 1.3% on Thursday as the risk-on environment returned.

The rally was powered ahead by the tech sector, 4.3% higher, along with property trusts, up 2.6%, and consumer discretionary stocks, up 1.7%.

  • It was Qantas (ASX: QAN) that drove the latter, CEO Alan Joyce announced the company would be cash flow breakeven in the second half of 2021, with net debt having peaked at $6.4 billion.

    Earnings are expected to be between $400 and $450 million in the second half of the year, but with a full year loss of $2 billion.

    Management noted that domestic travel had doubled in the second half, but it has been difficult to overcome the loss of $16 billion in revenue over the year. Qantas shares moved 3.5% higher on the news.

    Economists missed the boat once again, with the unemployment rate falling 5.5% in April.

    Most predicted a flat result, yet the economy actually lost 30,000 jobs with fewer people seeking work, sending the participation rate lower. 

    Not quite the incredible jobs market the headlines are shouting. 

    Tech rally, CBA nears record, Praemium CEO quits, Ampol going green

    Afterpay (ASX: APT) and Zip Co (ASX: Z1P) were 7% and 5% higher respectively after brokers reiterated their price targets for the former and investors continue to discount any regulatory risk.

    Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) jumped 3.2%, another record, as it nears $100 per share for the first time; this despite the prevalence of a pandemic in the rest of the world.

    The CEO of wrap platform Praemium Ltd (ASX: PPS) unexpectedly quit, however, shares fell just 0.6%. The decision comes after the group’s successful acquisition and integration of Powerwrap.

    Shares in Ampol (ASX: ALD) added 0.5% after it became the latest energy company to make a deal with Telsa (NASDAQ: TSLA) to build virtual power plants and green hydrogen storage at the refining sites.

    The Victorian budget has thus far been derided by economics, politicians, and financial commentators.

    It included a land tax increase, stamp duty rise, windfall gains tax on property rezoning, and more recently, an increase in payroll tax to some 9,000 businesses.

    A much needed mental health package was the major announcement whilst key infrastructure projects are increasingly over budget.

    US markets rally despite taper talk, unemployment falls, Ford Motor Co going green

    US markets rallied overnight, with the Nasdaq once again gaining the ascendancy, finishing 1.8% higher.

    The S&P500 and Dow Jones also gained 1.1% and 0.6% respectively as the likes of Apple (NYSE: AAPL) and Microsoft (NYSE: MSFT) benefitted from signs of a stronger economy.

    The US jobless rate reached another pandemic low, with unemployment claims falling by 34,000 to 44,000 in the week prior.

    Bitcoin’s slide has begun to slow, moving over US$40,000 once again, down over 20% in just over a week.

    However, it was proposed this week that all crypto transactions exceeding US$10,000 would need to be reported to the IRS, raising concerns about the lack of privacy. 

    Ford Motor Co (NYSE: F) rallied 3.1% after announcing its intention to build electric vehicle batteries in the US via a joint venture with Korean specialist SK Innovation Co.

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