The Business Times

Australia: Shares rise on signs of easing Federal Reserve hawkish tone; CPI data in focus

Published Wed, Oct 26, 2022 · 09:35 AM

AUSTRLIAN shares rose for a third straight session on Wednesday, buoyed by soft U.S. economic data fuelling hopes of less aggressive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, while investors awaited domestic consumer price inflation data.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.6 per cent to 6,840.30 by 2157 GMT, with most sub-sectors trading in the positive territory. The benchmark ended 0.3 per cent higher on Tuesday. US data overnight showed slowing home price growth and souring consumer confidence. Such signs of economic softness, ordinarily unsupportive of risk appetite, are evidence of abating Fed hawkishness. Back home, consumer price index figures for the third quarter, due later in the day, will provide further cues on the Reserve Bank of Australia’s stance on interest rate hikes. Financials advanced 0.3 per cent and were set to hit a more than four months high, with the ‘Big Four’ banks rising between 0.4 per cent and 0.9 per cent. Miners led gains on the local bourse, climbing 1.2 per cent even as iron ore prices slumped on Tuesday.

Sector behemoths BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals added between 0.4 per cent and 0.6 per cent. Strong bullion prices lifted gold stocks 2.4 per cent, with Northern Star Resources and Newcrest Mining climbing 2.9 per cent and 2.6 per cent, respectively. The sub-index was set to hit an over two-week high. Technology stocks tracked their Wall Street peers up 0.5 per cent. ASX-listed shares of Block and software maker Xero added 1.1 per cent and 0.9 per cent, respectively. Medibank Private tumbled 14.7 per cent and was on track to post a record drop, after the country’s biggest health insurer warned of a A$25 million (S$22.6 million) to A$35 million hit to first-half earnings from costs related to a data breach.

Coles Group dropped 1.8 per cent, after the country’s second-largest supermarket chain warned of cost pressures.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.8 per cent to 10,984.18. REUTERS


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