From Hero to Xero for tech star
From Hero to Xero for tech star
Australian shares rose for the second straight day, with healthcare leading the way, and netting out a tech slump. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index advanced 19.5 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 7014.9, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 16.7 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7,215.
Healthcare’s rise was paced by a $4.45 rise, or 1.8 per cent, in heavyweight CSL, to $252.30, while tech was having a downer, led by software accounting company Xero, which sank $14.25, or 12.4 per cent, to $100.47 after reporting its half-year result. Xero swung from a loss to a profit of $50 million in the half-year, with revenue growing 21 per cent, but that failed to meet expectations.
The big banks were mixed. Westpac fell 46 cents, or 2.1 per cent, as it traded ex-dividend; and National Australia Bank slipped 23 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $28.94; but Commonwealth Bank advanced $1.42, or 1.4 per cent, to $102.11; and ANZ gained 25 cents, or 1 per cent, to $25.81. Investment bank and wealth manager Macquarie Group was up $2.36, or 1.5 per cent, to $163.46.
Explosives and chemicals group Orica gained 42 cents, or 2.8 per cent, to $15.48 after reporting strong earnings across all business segments for the 2023 financial year, on the back of robust demand for mining commodities across the globe. Reported net profit surged five-fold, to $295.7 million, while underlying earnings were up 24 per cent. The full-year dividend was 43 cents per share, up from 35 cents, also impressing investors.
Among the mining giants, Rio Tinto rose 75 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to $120.20; BHP was up 25 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to $44.95; and Fortescue Metals gained 35 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to $23.45.
In energy, Woodside Energy fell 59 cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $32.76; and Santos was down 3 cents, to $7.30. Of the coal cohort, Whitehaven Coal put on 7 cents, or 1 per cent, to $6.90; Yancoal Australia was up 6 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $4.76; and Stanmore Resources added 6 cents, or 1.6 per cent, to $3.74; but Coronado Global Resources slid 6 cents, or 3.6 per cent, to $1.60.
Lithium producer Allkem eased 6 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to $9.24, while fellow producer appreciated 4 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $3.73. IGO, which mines nickel as well as lithium, softened 10 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $9.26; but Mineral Resources, which produces iron ore and lithium, followed its iron ore peers higher, gaining 65 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $59.89. Copper heavyweight Sandfire Resources was up 4 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to $6.13, while rare earths producer Lynas gained 2 cents to $7.06.
Streak ends on Wall Street as Fed Chair disappoints
In the US, the streak was too good to last, with the benchmark S&P 500 index retreating for the first time in nine sessions, losing 35.43 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 4,347.75, after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell implied that more work may need to be done to bring down inflation to the central bank’s satisfaction, to its 2 per cent goal. The market had talked itself into believing that the Chair’s latest official remarks would signal that the Fed had completed its tightening bias of monetary policy: stocks and bonds have rallied on the back of that expectation.
That ended on Thursday, as a sharp jump in yields rattled investors. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index slid 128.97 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 13,521.45, while the 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 220.33 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 33,891.94.
On the bond market, the US 10-year yield jumped 12.3 basis points, to 4.629 per cent, while the more policy-sensitive 2-year yield lifted 10.5 basis points, to 5.033 per cent.
Gold gained US$7.67, or 0.4 per cent, to US$1,958.50 an ounce, while the global benchmark Brent crude oil grade rose 34 cents, or 0.4 per cent, to US$79.88 a barrel, and US West Texas Intermediate oil firmed 21 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to US475.54 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying 63.65 US cents this morning, down from 64.12 US cents at the ASX close on Thursday.