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Aussie share market hits six-week high

The Australian sharemarket has marked its best day for the year in the wake of the latest unemployment figures boosting buyer confidence.

Sky News Business Reporter Ed Boyd says Thursday was the “best day” for the ASX 200 this year after it rose 1.65 per cent. Inflation in the United States was weaker than expected overnight, so investors now think the US Federal Reserve could cut rates in September, which helped the Dow Jones surge to record highs. Poker machine maker Aristocrat jumped 12.30 per cent after a better-than-expected half-yearly profit, and property manager Charter Hall was up 6.66 per cent. The oil and gas sector dropped today, led by Beach Energy, which fell 2.01 per cent. IDP Education slumped 4.35 per cent after its strong performance yesterday, and medicine maker Mesoblast was down 2.38 per cent.

The benchmark ASX200 rose 1.7 per cent, or 128 points, to close at 7881, after almost reaching record highs throughout the day on Thursday.

The broader All Ordinaries index lifted 0.32 per cent, or 25.2 points, to finish at 8020.9.

With US inflation set to be easing, Wall Street recorded a strong performance overnight.

The ASX continues to react to the latest unemployment figures. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw

The Aussie dollar dropped 0.2 per cent against the Greenback to buy US66.79c at the closing bell.

Ten of 11 industry sectors ended higher at the close, with property, tech and banks posting strong gains.

The top performing ASX200 stocks were Aristocrat Leisure and Charter Hall Group, up 12.30 per cent and 6.25 per cent respectively.

GrainCorp’s shares rose more than 0.87 per cent to $8.14 at the close after the group delivered half-year results in line with its profit warning last week.

On Thursday, GrainCorp reported its results were “resilient” despite recording a 75 per cent drop in net profit after tax to $50m.

Major banks also increased between 1.4 and 2.4 per cent, with CBA hitting a record high of $122.26 at the close.

Energy was the sole sector to fall, dipping 0.3 per cent.

The strong market comes in the wake of the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics latest unemployment figures, which saw unemployed Australians increased by 30,300 people to 604,200 in April 2024 – the highest number since November 2021.

“The increase in unemployment reflected more people without jobs available and looking for work,” the ABS said.

The latest unemployment figures are the highest number since November 2021. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicki Connolly

Oxford Economics Australia head of macroeconomic forecasting Sean Langcake said the latest unemployment rate provided “a steady increase in employment broadly matched by a rise in unemployment”.

“Some of the increase in unemployment is attributable to a larger-than-usual number of people being attached to a job they are waiting to start,” Mr Langcake said.

“This same cohort drove much of the volatility seen in the labour force data at the start of 2024.

“These workers will flow into employment next month, putting some downward pressure on the unemployment rate.

“Hours worked was unchanged in April, despite the steady 38,500 increase in employment.

“Work arrangements around Easter were more closely aligned to their pre-Covid pattern than last year, resulting in more employees taking leave and working reduced hours this year.

“The labour market is expected to slacken over 2024. The economy is slowing, and forward indicators of labour demand are weakening.

“Today’s data are consistent with that easing being underway, although the data are likely to look stronger again next month as job attached workers flow into employment.”

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