The Business Times

Australia: Shares hit over two-month high

Published Thu, Aug 11, 2022 · 09:26 AM

AUSTRALIAN shares hit a more than two-month high on Thursday, boosted by banking and mining stocks, a day after signs of sharply decelerating US inflation raised hopes the Federal Reserve will become less aggressive on interest rate hikes.

The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.9 per cent to 7,056.20 by 0036 GMT, its highest level since June 9. The benchmark closed 0.5 per cent lower on Wednesday.

In other key markets, Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.7 per cent to 27,819.33, while S&P 500 E-minis futures inched up 0.2 per cent. 

Data on Wednesday showed that US consumer prices were unchanged in July, prompting bets that the Fed will likely hike rates at a slower pace than previously expected.

In Australia, financials advanced 0.9 per cent The country’s four largest banks added between 0.6 per cent and 1.3 per cent.

Miners climbed 1 per cent even as iron ore prices fell overnight due to uncertainty over demand prospects in top steel producer China.

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Among heavyweights, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals gained 1.1 per cent, each, while rival Rio Tinto tumbled 3.2 per cent on trading ex-dividend.

Technology stocks tracked their Wall Street counterparts higher to rise 2.2 per cent. The sub-index was on track to mark its best say since Aug 4. 

Software maker Xero and WiseTech Global were up 2.6 per cent and 3.3 per cent, respectively. 

Wealth manager AMP retreated 2.6 per cent, following a drop of nearly a quarter in its half-year profit.

James Hardie Industries advanced 2.1 per cent, after the Australian building materials giant said it was in the final stages of selecting a new chief executive officer. In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.6 per cent to 11,821.52.

The country’s house prices fell in July with the median price recording its first annual fall since 2011, the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand said. REUTERS

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