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Australia: Market extends gain on Fed rate decision
(02 Feb 2023, 12:47)
Australia stock market finished higher for second consecutive session on Thursday, 02 February 2023, on following positive lead from Wall Street overnight after the Federal Reserve raised its interest rate by the expected 25 basis points, with market rally led by shares in tech, retailers, and realty sectors.

At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 9.99 points, or 0.13%, to 7,511.65. The broader All Ordinaries index advanced 18.87 points, or 0.24%, to 7,728.52.

Total 7 of 11 sectors ended higher along with the S&P/ASX 200 Index. Information Technology was the best performing sector, gaining 3.15%, followed by consumer discretionary (up 1.26%), A-REIT (up 0.92%), and healthcare (up 0.89%) issues. Energy was worst performing sector, erasing 0.89%, followed by financials (down 0.4%) issue.The top performing stocks in S&P/ASX200 index were MEGAPORT and XERO, up 11.11% and 7.47% respectively. The bottom performing stocks in S&P/ASX200 index were QBE INSURANCE and COMPUTERSHARE, down 4.76% and 3.63% respectively.

The Federal Reserve extended its fight against high inflation on Wednesday by raising its key interest rate a quarter-point, its eighth hike since March. And the Fed signaled that even though inflation is easing, it remains high enough to require further rate hikes. After a two-day meeting, the Fed said it has decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to 4.50 to 4.75%. The latest interest rate hike comes after the central bank raised rates by 75 basis points in November and by 50 basis points in December.

During his post-meeting press conference, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank does not believe rates are yet at a sufficiently restrictive policy stance and suggested a couple of more rate hikes will be needed to get to that level. The Fed also said it anticipates ongoing increases in interest rates will be appropriate in order to attain a stance of monetary policy that is sufficiently restrictive to return inflation to 2% over time.

Shares of technology, consumer discretionary, and communication services sectors advanced. Seek, Xero and WiseTech were the top performers, up 5.36%, 7.47%, and 6.77%, respectively.

Shares of energy sector closed in red. Oil and gas giant Woodside was down almost 1% by the end of trade.

Financials also slipped into the red, with insurers QBE and SunCorp falling 4.76% and 2.3%, respectively.

ECONOMIC NEWS: The total number of building permits issued in Australia was up a seasonally adjusted 18.5% on month to 16,556 in December, following the 9% contraction in November, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Thursday. On a yearly basis, overall permits slipped 3.8%.

Australia Witnessing High and Broad Based Inflation Says IMF- A latest update from the International Monetary Fund or IMF stated that like other advanced economies, Australia is witnessing high inflation that has become broad-based, though wage pressures in Australia appear contained so far. Headline and core measures of inflation have accelerated and are well above the target range, with a large share of the CPI basket experiencing price gains of over 3% per year. Energy inflation in Australia remains significantly below that of other OECD countries, though core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food components, shows Australian inflation well within the range of other OECD economies. That said, despite a tight labor market, wage pressures appear subdued so far. While external shocks following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and supply and shipping bottlenecks stemming from COVID-19 played a significant role in the initial spike in inflation, a positive output gap amid a historically tight domestic labor market is likely to play an increasingly important role going forward.

CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar was stood at 0.7145 against greenback on Thursday, up by 0.14% from previous trading day closure at 0.7135 after trading in the range of 0.7128-0.7158.

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