ASX rises as Wall Street grinds higher

By Sumeyya Ilanbey

The Australian sharemarket lifted at the open tracking the gains of Wall Street, which drifted higher through a quiet session as the bond market calmed down following some sharp swings.

The S&P/ASX200 rose 53.7 points, or 0.71 per cent, to 7635.3 about 10.35am, with seven out of 11 sectors trading in the green.

Wall Street has had a mixed session.
Wall Street has had a mixed session. Credit: AP

Mining (up 1.51 per cent) recorded the strongest gains while consumer discretionary (down 0.48 per cent) was the weakest performing sector.

Shares in NAB fell 1.24 per cent after the bank announced Ross McEwan would step down as chief executive office and managing director in April. He will be replaced by Andrew Irvine, NAB’s group executive business and private banking lead.

It was the worst-performing mega-cap stock on the local bourse on Wednesday morning, followed by Wesfarmers (down 0.9 per cent), Harvey Norman Holdings (down 0.68 per cent) and IDP Education (down 0.58 per cent).

On the flipside, Lynas Rare Earths recorded the greatest advances among large-cap stock after its shares jumped 4.54 per cent, followed by GQG Parnters (up 4.33 per cent), Pilbara Minerals (up 3.85 per cent) and Amcor (up 3.63 per cent).

Mining giants BHP (up 1.17 per cent), Fortescue (up 2.07 per cent) and Rio Tinto (up 1.6 per cent) are all trading higher, while gold miners also rallied after the price of spot gold rose 0.5 per cent to $US2036.10/oz. Iron ore dropped 0.9 per cent to $US125 a tonne, while Brent crude lifted 1 per cent to $US78.76 a barrel.

Oil and gas heavyweights Woodside (up 1.22 per cent), Ampol (up 1.11 per cent) and Santos (up 1.27 per cent) all rallied.

Shares in online luxury trading platform Cettire soared 19.24 per cent after the company reported a 60 per cent jump in interim profit. Its net profit lifted to $12.8 million as its sale revenue climbed 90 per cent to $354.3 million in the first half.


Meanwhile, Craig Hutchison’s Sports Entertainment Group issued 10.1 million new shares on Wednesday morning, as part of the company’s latest attempt to raise cash ahead of the deadline to repay its debt facility in August.

The shares will net the company around $2.2 million, adding to another $1.5 million raised through stakes sold in its sports team business, which includes the Perth Wildcats and Melbourne Mavericks.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2 per cent and nearly returned to its all-time high set at the end of last week. The Dow Jones gained 0.4 per cent and the Nasdaq composite edged up by 0.1 per cent.

GE Healthcare Technologies was the day’s best performer in the S&P 500 and jumped 11.6 per cent after reporting healthier profit and revenue for the latest quarter than analysts expected.

Streaming music and podcast platform Spotify climbed 3.9 per cent after it reported stronger-than-expected growth in its subscriber base, even as revenue missed analysts’ targets.

Those gains helped to offset an 11.5 per cent tumble for FMC, whose products help protect crops. The company’s profit and revenue fell short of analysts’ projections, in part because of drought conditions in Brazil.

With earnings season at about the midway point for the big companies in the S&P 500 index, there are still plenty of heavyweights reporting this week including CVS Health, The Walt Disney Co. and PepsiCo.

In the bond market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury relaxed following its slingshot ride higher in recent days. It eased to 4.09 per cent from 4.17 per cent late Monday.

Strong reports on the job market, services industries and other areas of the US economy have pushed yields much higher, up from 3.88 per cent less than a week ago. Traders are now betting on less than a 20 per cent probability that the Federal Reserve will begin lowering rates in March, down from 68 per cent a month ago, according to data from CME Group.

While a delay in rate cuts hurts the stock market, particularly after very high expectations for cuts helped drive a lengthy rally, the strong economic data also carry an upside for investors. They should mean stronger profits for companies.

Consider Wall Street’s reaction to Friday’s report that showed employers hired many more workers last month than expected. Investments tied to the S&P 500 initially fell after the release of the blowout data, but the index climbed through the day to set another all-time high.

That may indicate the market “is warming up to the idea that ‘good is, in fact, good,’” when it comes to data on the economy “and perhaps less reliant on rate cuts,” according to UBS strategists led by Maxwell Grinacoff. But they acknowledge that stocks seen as lower quality are not seeing as big a benefit.

With AP

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