Warning: interest rate rise ahead
The Australian share market ended in the green on Monday, despite investor skittishness ahead of today’s Reserve Bank board meeting.
The central bank is widely predicted to lift its cash rate by another 50 basis points today, which would take it to 1.35 per cent, in the intensifying effort to rein in surging inflation, which hit a 20-year peak in the first three months of this year.
The markets already knew that the RBA board had discussed a 25 or 50-point increase to the cash rate at its June meeting, and was likely to have the same discussion again this month.
Speaking last month, RBA Governor Lowe did not rule out altogether a larger rate hike, of 75 basis points, but reiterated that the decision at the next meeting was more likely to be 25 or 50 points.
However, some investment firms believe the RBA will take the cash rate as high as 1.5 per cent today, which would be a hike of 65 basis points.
On Monday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 72.7 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 6,612.6, while the broader S&P/ASX All Ordinaries rose 76.5 points, also 1.1 per cent, to 6,796.9.
Despite the prospect of a rate rise, the financial sector led the gains in the local market, with rises in energy, property and healthcare stocks also boosting the indices.
Westpac ended 25 cents, or 1.3 per cent, higher at $19.67; ANZ also added 1.3 per cent, rising 28 cents to $22.28; National Australia Bank gained 23 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $27.74; and Commonwealth Bank put on 75 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $91.45.
Breville enjoys a coffee break
Helped by rising oil prices, the energy sector was strong, with Santos adding 24 cents or 3.3 per cent to $7.45; Woodside Energy up 81 cents, or 2.7 per cent, to $31.26; and Beach Energy closing 3.5 cents higher, or 2 per cent, at $1.74.
The coal sector was also buoyant, with New Hope Corporation jumping 26 cents, or 7.8 per cent, to $3.60; TerraCom adding 2.5 cents, or 4.2 per cent, to 62 cents; Stanmore Energy gaining 5 cents, or 2.7 per cent, to $1.90; and Whitehaven Coal up 12 cents, or 2.6 per cent, to $4.80, while
Breville Group jumped 92 cents, or 5.1 per cent, to $19.05, after announcing the completion of its acquisition of Italian-based premium coffee machine maker LELIT.
On the downside, investment group Magellan plunged $1.29, or 9.9 per cent, to $11.71 following reports that its sales and distribution head, Frank Casarotti, intends to retire in December 2023.
Elsewhere in the S&P/ASX 200, PointsBet dropped 18 cents, or 6.3 per cent, to $2.70; the stock has been highly volatile in recent weeks, without any news to explain the moves.
US markets on a long weekend
There was no trading on the US markets overnight as the nation enjoyed the Independence Day holiday.
Investors deserve the break, after a brutal second quarter, which saw the S&P 500 index surrender 16.5 per cent.
Amid fears of rising inflation, supply-chain shortages, and a possible recession, the broad market index has dropped about 20 per cent so far this year.
The Australian dollar is buying 69 US cents this morning.