ASX up 0.2% on financial, energy boost; RBNZ lifts cash rate again

Highlights

  • The ASX 200 pared early losses and rose 0.15% by mid-session.
  • Eight of 11 sectors traded in the red, barring energy, financial, and utilities.
  • The Reserve Bank of New Zealand raised interest rate for the second month in a row by 0.25%.
  • Lendlease Group, Beach Energy, and Whitehaven Coal topped the ASX gainers’ chart.
  • Technology One, Bapcor, Pinnacle Investment, Netwealth, St Barbara were among top laggards.

Australian shares were trading marginally higher by Wednesday afternoon, supported by gains in energy, financial and utilities sector stocks. Caution prevailed in the market amid rate hike concerns after New Zealand’s central bank raised interest rates for the second month in a row and indicated it may go for further tightening to tame inflationary pressures. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has hiked the official cash rate by 25 percentage point to 0.75% to maintain price stability and support maximum sustainable employment. Last month, it had raised interest rate for the first time in more than seven years by a quarter of a percentage point to cool a red-hot housing market.

The ASX 200 index was up by 11.30 points or 0.15% at 7,421.90 by mid-session.  Earlier today, the benchmark index opened flat with negative bias, tracking mixed cues from global peers.    

On Wall Street, the benchmark US stock indices closed mixed on Tuesday as tech stocks retreated for the second day as investors scaled down their tech bets amid concerns over narrowing margins. The S&P 500 climbed 0.17%, while the Dow Jones rose 0.55%. The NASDAQ Composite ended 0.50% lower, extending fall for a second consecutive session.

Back home, on the sectoral front, eight of the 11 sectors were trading lower. The energy sector was the best performer with 1.6% gain, owing to a rebound in crude oil prices. Oil prices rose even after US President Joe Biden announced strategic oil stockpile release. The US will release millions of barrels of oil from strategic reserves in a bid to cool prices. 

Meanwhile, the tech sector remained the worst performer for the second consecutive day with a 0.9% loss, tracking overnight losses in the US counterpart, NASDAQ.

Top gainers and losers by mid-session

Top 5 ASX Gainers and Losers (Data Source: ASX Website, as of 1:00 PM AEST)

The best performing stock on the ASX was property business Lendlease Group (ASX:LLC), which traded 3.3% higher. Some of the other top performers were oil producer Beach Energy (ASX:BPT), coal miner Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC), IT services firm Link Administration (ASX:LNK), health care firm Polynovo (ASX:PNV).

On the losing side, software business Technology One (ASX:TNE) topped the chart with a 8.9% loss. The other top laggards were motor vehicle servicing provider Bapcor (ASX: BAP), Pinnacle Investment Management (ASX: PNI), diversified financial group Netwealth (ASX:NWL), and gold miner St Barbara (ASX:SBM).

Shares in news

Buzzing stocks: A2 Milk, Harvey Norman, PointsBet Holdings, Bapcor, Pinnacle Investment, BHP, Woodside

Image Source: Copyright © 2021 Kalkine Media

Shares of A2 Milk Company (ASX: A2M) traded nearly 1% lower after a second class action was filed against the dairy nutritional company.

Electronics and furniture retailer Harvey Norman (ASX: HVN) saw its shares fall over 1% after it released its earnings update. The company has reported a 36% year-on-year drop in profits during July-October period, impacted by lockdowns in most states and territories of Australia.

Shares of Pinnacle Investment Management (ASX: PNI) tumbled over 13% after the firm bought a stake in private equity firm Five V Capital. The company’s shares had entered a trading halt yesterday, pending an announcement related to capital raise to fund investments in Five V Capital.

Auto parts retailer Bapcor (ASX: BAP) extended fall for the second session and was down 4% by mid-session. The stock remained under pressure after the company announced the retirement of its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on Tuesday.

Shares of PointsBet Holdings (ASX: PBH), the country’s leading corporate bookmaker, were down 0.2% even after it received a temporary supplier licence by Virginia Lottery to offer online sports wagering in Virginia.

Shares of Woodside Petroleum (ASX: WPL) and BHP Group ((ASX:BHP) continued their gaining streak for the second day after their boards on Monday approved the Scarborough and Pluto Train 2 development projects.

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