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- The ASX benchmark opened higher on Thursday but gains were limited by losses in Energy and materials stocks
- Seven of 11 sectors traded in the green today with industrials leading the gains
- Big four banks saw modest gains today
Australian equities opened higher on Thursday (23 June) following see-saw trade on Wall Street overnight that ended lower. The benchmark index ASX 200 was up 0.21% to 6,522.20 points in the early morning trade. The ASX all ordinaries index was up 0.09% at 6,688.1 points. On Wednesday, the ASX 200 closed 0.2% lower at 6508.5 points. Energy and materials stocks came under selling pressure today, limiting gains made by other sectors.
US stocks traded lower in overnight trading on Wall Street after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell recognised while testifying before the Congress that the rate-raising campaign by the US central bank could result in an economic downturn. Powell has reportedly said that a US recession is certainly a possibility. Powell said, "We are not trying to provoke a recession and don't think we will need to provoke a recession.... But we do think it's essential that we restore price stability...". Investors were anxiously waiting for comments from Fed Chairman, and following his statements, the US stocks underperformed in yesterday's trade. Though the market volatility has existed for more than a week now, after the Fed announced a rate hike of 0.75 percentage points, all major US indices showed signs of recovery on Tuesday. Stocks have gyrated in the past few days as investors are concerned about a soaring inflation and slowdown in economic growth.
Meanwhile, another news that probably dented investors' sentiments was the revelation that UK inflation has reached a new 40-year high of 9.1% in May.
All three major US indices closed lower yesterday. The S&P 500 closed 0.13% lower at 3,759.89 points. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended 0.15% lower at 11,053.08 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average settled 0.15% lower at 30,483.13 points. The pan European STOXX 600 was down 0.70% at 405.74 points.
Hastings Technology Metals Limited (ASX:HAS)
Today, the shares of ASX-listed exploration and development company Hastings Technology Metals Limited grabbed attention after the company revealed that it has signed a binding agreement to acquire the 30% interest in the Yangibana rare earth project joint venture tenements.
As per the company, the interest will be acquired for AU$9 million by issuing fully paid ordinary Hastings shares.
Growthpoint Properties Australia (ASX:GOZ)
The share price of ASX-listed real estate investment trust (REIT) company Growthpoint Properties Australia remained in focus on Thursday (23 June) after the company announced its distribution for the six months ending 30 June 2022 and upgraded its FY22 funds from operations (FFO) guidance.
The company has upgraded its FY22 FFO guidance to at least 27.7 cps, representing a minimum of 7.8% growth over FY21.
Coming to the top ASX 200 gainers, Virgin Money UK PLC (ASX:VUK), Mesoblast Ltd. (ASX:MSB), and Blackmores Limited (ASX:BKL) led the pack with 5.000%, 4.545%, and 4.256% gains, respectively. On the flip side, St Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM), and Champion Iron Limited (ASX:CIA)were the top losers, falling 13.784% and 6.570%, respectively.
On the sectoral front, at the time of drafting, seven of 11 sectors traded in the green zone today, where industrials was the best performing sector. Materials, Energy, and Utilities were the worst performers; materials sector was down 0.98%, while the energy and utilities sectors were down 0.13% each. A fall in commodity prices has probably pulled down the materials sector, while a decline in oil prices overnight has possibly resulted in losses in the energy sector. Oil prices slumped nearly 3% on Wednesday as investors were worried that further rate hikes by the Federal Reserve could push the economy into recession, impacting fuel demand.
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