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Best close since COVID as ASX rises 0.6%

Daily Market Update

ASX hits new high, value rotation continues, car sales spike

The ASX200 finished another 0.6% higher on Wednesday, reaching the highest point since February last year but still some way off the all-time high of 7,199 points.

Once again it was the energy and materials sectors boosting the market as a flood of more positive economic news from car sales to infrastructure spending and IMF growth upgrades force investors into the market.

Energy finished 1.4% higher with Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) leading the way, jumping 2.4% as a key beneficiary of a return to normal operating conditions, and most importantly the flow-through of higher electricity prices.

The lithium sector has begun to recover after some profit taking, boosted by Biden’s ongoing rhetoric around the ‘green infrastructure revolution’, Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) added 6.4% alone.

The building products sector fell, led by AdBri (ASX:ABC) which was down 5.0% amid reports that a lack of skilled labour is impacting the ability of tradies to deliver on the HomeBuilder credits offered by the government.

EML Payments enters open banking, Westpac bumper bitcoin profit, new car sales rise

New car sales jumped a stunning 22% in March, following a similar jump in used car sales during 2020.

Consumers are clearly turning once again to domestic travel and upgrading their cars instead of taking overseas trips; despite the result, AP Eagers (ASX:APE) which controls 10% of the market fell 0.6%.

Prepaid gift card provider EML Payments (ASX:EML) lead the market jumping 5.5% after announcing its entry into the Open Banking market via the EUR$70 million acquisition of Sentenial in Europe.

The technology-driven company continues to pivot to seek alternative opportunities that leverage its data capabilities.

Westpac (ASX:WBC) looks set to make a tidy profit via its venture capital arm Reinventure with investee company Coinbase set to list on the Nasdaq next week.

The platform for trading cryptocurrencies and other digital assets reported a US$730 million first-quarter profit, double the full-year profit in 2020 as interest in the sector spiked. The platform now has 56 million verified users and expected revenue to hit US$1.8 billion.

Tax hike plan released, markets flat on low volumes, Starbucks running out of oat milk

It was another flat day for US markets with the S&P500 increasing modestly, 0.15%, and the Nasdaq falling 0.1%.

The Federal Reserve continues to reiterate its willingness to extend QE and other support programs, confirming they will be in place for ‘some time’ even as the economy recovers.

Costings of the planned tax hike from 21% to 28% were outlined which aim to fund the massive infrastructure program by raising US$2.5 trillion over fifteen years.

It isn’t expected to impact too many companies, in fact, the true focus is on bringing overseas income back to the US.

Investment bank JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM) rallied 1.7% after CEO Jamie Dimon released his annual shareholder letter, stating: “I have little doubt that with excess savings, new stimulus savings, huge deficit spending, more QE, a new potential infrastructure bill, a successful vaccine and euphoria around the end of the pandemic, the US economy will likely boom”; let’s hope he is right.

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