ASX 200 today: Will Westpac continue to lift Australian shares higher?

Summary

  • After finishing last week on a weak note, ASX 200 on Monday opened lower, tracking sluggish global cues.
  • The Australian benchmark equity index ASX 200 today dipped 2.80 points to 7,023 at opening.
  • However, the broader index soon rebounded and gained 0.53% in the first hour of the trading session.

After finishing last week on a weak note, ASX 200 on Monday opened lower, tracking sluggish global cues. The Australian benchmark equity index ASX 200 today dipped 2.80 points to 7,023 at opening. However, the broader index soon rebounded and gained 0.53% in the first hour of the trading session.

The US indices closed lower on Friday after major tech firms such as Apple and Alphabet declines despite robust earnings. The Dow Jones fell 0.54%, closing at 33,875.31, while the S&P 500 lost 0.72% to 4,181.21. The NASDAQ Composite slipped 0.85%, to 13,962.68.

Meanwhile, the focus would fall on the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) meeting decision and release of the statement on monetary policy, which would be supplemented by an address from RBA Deputy Governor Debelle on Thursday covering the topic -- "Monetary Policy during Covid."

Source: © Ymgerman   | Megapixl.com

Gainers and losers

Australia’s second-biggest lender Westpac Banking Corp (ASX:WBC) lifted the mood of the market after releasing upbeat earnings. However, the gains were capped by losses in miners and energy companies on weak commodity prices. The top percentage gainers were Charter Hall Group (ASX:CHC) up 1.14%, followed by Ampol Ltd (ASX:ALD), gaining 1.06% and Blackmores Ltd (ASX:BKL) rising 1.06%.

READ MORE: Global COVID-19 case toll crosses 152 million, India amongst top contributor

Financial stocks were the biggest percentage gainers, adding about 1.5%, with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), gaining 0.5% each.

Westpac jumped as much as 4.4%, after it reported a near three-fold jump in its first-half cash earnings, and it laid out a three-year plan to cut costs.

Miners were down 0.4% led by De Grey Mining Ltd (ASX:DEG), down 1.4%, followed by Aurelia Metals (ASX:AMI) losing 1.2%.

Among gold miners Andromeda Metals (ASX:AND) soared 8.9%, while Calidus Resources (ASX:CAI) jumped 2.63​%. Energy sub-index was down 0.7%.

Bond yields trade higher

The 10-year Australian bond yield rose by 0.47% to 1.706. On Friday, the US Treasury yields slipped from upper levels as investors purchased the debt to rebalance their portfolios, despite fears of higher inflation as businesses reopen. The Benchmark 10-year notes rose 4/32 in price to yield 1.6276%, compared to 1.64% on Thursday.

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Australian dollar inches up

The Australian dollar was trading up 0.13% to 0.7729. The US dollar index fell 0.735%. The Australian dollar is a commodities currency, implying that nay surge or decline in the prices of the commodities dictate the movement of the domestic currency.

AUD/USD picks up bids around 0.7720, struggles to recover from short-term range support, amid the early Monday morning in Asia. The Aussie pair marked the biggest monthly gain in 2021, despite the recent pullback, in April. The downward pressure remains present at the start of May even as buyers defend 0.7700.

Source: © Sadeq68 | Megapixl.com

Crude oil prices dip

The crude oil prices declined amid concerns around wider lockdowns in India and Brazil. The investors are worried that coronavirus-induced restrictions may impact the demand of the commodity. Crude oil prices edged higher by 1 per cent after refining activity picked up. The Brent crude Futures settled 1.9% down, at US$67.26 a barrel, while the WTI crude Futures closed 2.26% down, at US$63.54 per barrel. Beach Energy Ltd (ASX:BPT), Santos Ltd (ASX:STO), Woodside Petroleum Ltd (ASX:WPL), Viva Energy Group Ltd (ASX:VEA), fell as much as 1,3% in the opening trade.

Gold prices trades lower

Spot gold fell 0.3% to US$1,766.89 an ounce, while the US gold Futures settled 0.14% lower at US$1,767.30 an ounce. Regis Resources Ltd (ASX:RRL) and Newcrest Mining Ltd (ASX:NCM) surged as high as 0.2%.

Bitcoin edges up

Bitcoin traded higher by 0.18% to US$57.531.96. The popular digital currency rose more than 10% on the last day of April to erase most of the losses for the month.

Newsmakers

Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) announced better than expected cash profit in the first half of 2021 on due to continued economic recovery in Australia and New Zealand. The statutory net profit was recorded at AU$3,443 million, up 189%, in the given period.

Premier Investments (ASX:PMV) said that it would repay full net benefit of AU$15.6 million received from JobKeeper 1.

Namoi Cotton (ASX:NAM) would raise AU$12.2 million across a AU$7.2 million institutional placement of shares and an additional AU$3 million to AU$5 million via share purchasing plan to existing shareholders.

READ MORE: 5 Exciting ASX-listed technology stocks to watch in May

Westar Resources Ltd (ASX:WSR) announced completion of negotiations to facilitate Westar becoming the 100% beneficial owner of Birrigrin Mining Centre, adjoining the Gidgee South Gold Project.

Deterra Royalties Ltd (ASX: DRR) confirmed AU$36.4 million of total royalty receipts for the March 2021 quarter.

Aumake Ltd (ASX:AU8) announced that its Chief Financial Officer Peter Zhao has resigned to pursue a new career opportunity, effective 3 May 2021. Zhao would be replaced by Tony Guarna as new Chief Financial Officer.

RPM Group (ASX:RUL) delivered a record performance over Q3 FY21, with all divisions delivering a solid revenue performance. Group revenue for the quarter was up 59% to AU$14.5 million, beating projected forecasts by 16%


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