ASX hits one-week high ahead of Fed meeting

The Australian sharemarket closed at session highs on Wednesday, delivering a resilient and surprising performance given a weak lead from Wall Street and a multitude of risk events over coming days.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 45.7 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 6752.6, closing at its highest level since December 2.

There was plenty of green on screens on Wednesday.
There was plenty of green on screens on Wednesday.Credit:Tamara Voninski

After posting gains of 0.3 per cent in early trade, the index ground higher throughout the session, brushing aside remarks from White House trade adviser Peter Navarro that he’s received “no indication” that planned tariff hikes on Chinese imports scheduled for December 15 won’t go ahead.

“The story backs up similar language from Donald Trump’s economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, on Tuesday, who also affirmed that there’s been no decision yet to delay the next round of tariffs,” IG Markets analyst Kyle Rodda told clients.


“The market still sees tariffs being delayed by the Trump administration. It would be quite a shock to the US economy leading into the holiday period if they weren’t.”

All sectors aside from REITs and technology rose during the session, led by utilities, healthcare and telecommunications which all gained 1 per cent or more.

Consumer discretionary also had a good session, helped in part by Webjet which soared 9.6 per cent to $12.78 on speculation the company could be a takeover target following recent share price weakness.

The travel retailer posted the strongest gain on the benchmark index, outpacing a 5.2 per cent lift in Cooper Energy which closed at 60.5¢. ALS Limited rounded out the top three stocks, rising 3.6 per cent to $9.43.

While the broader market enjoyed a strong session, Australia’s “WAAAX” stocks – Wisetech Global, Altium, Appen, Afterpay Touch and Xero – were pressured, falling more than 1 per cent. Altium led the losses, sliding 2.6 per cent to $34.67.

Speedcast International and Polynovo Limited were other notable losers on the broader index, skidding 4.6 per cent apiece to close at 72.5¢ and $1.66 respectively.

Looking ahead, the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate announcement will likely dictate how local stocks will fare on Thursday, especially in the absence of any concrete trade news. The decision will arrive at 6am AEDT, accompanied by updated economic forecasts and a press conference from chairman Jerome Powell.

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Source: Thanks