Aussie stocks hit record as Fed chair talks rate cuts

Derek Rose |

Markets have been buoyed by the Fed chair’s comments interest rate cuts are likely this year.
Markets have been buoyed by the Fed chair’s comments interest rate cuts are likely this year.

The local share market has pushed to another all-time high after Fed chairman Jerome Powell told US Congress interest rate cuts are likely this year.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Thursday finished up 30.2 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 7,763.7, its second record high this month and fourth of the year.

The broader All Ordinaries climbed 36.4 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 8,026.7.

The ASX200, which last hit a record high on Friday, is now up 2.3 per cent for the year and has not had a losing month since October.

Addressing US lawmakers overnight, Mr Powell said he needed to see more data before moving on rate cuts but confirmed they were likely.

“The expectation is we will do so (cut rates) some time this year,” he said. 

“We’re not looking for better inflation readings than we’ve had. We’re just looking for more of them.”

The US dollar dipped on his comments, sending the Aussie to a two-week high and gold to an all-time peak, even as economists pushed back their expectations for US rate cuts from May to June.

Nine of the ASX’s 11 sectors finished higher on Thursday, with mining flat and energy down 1.2 per cent.

Industrials were the biggest movers, collectively climbing 1.3 per cent as Brambles added 2.7 per cent and Seven Group rose 3.2 per cent.

The Big Four banks all finished higher, with ANZ adding 1.0 per cent to $29.30, CBA rising 0.8 per cent to an all-time high of $119.25, NAB advancing 0.7 per cent to $34.32 and Westpac edging 0.2 per cent higher at $27.

In the heavyweight mining sector, BHP dropped 1.1 per cent to $43.86, Rio Tinto fell 2.4 per cent to $120.62 and Fortescue advanced 1.1 per cent to $26.04.

Goldminers were on the rise as the precious metal traded for $US2,154 an ounce, with Evolution up 2.8 per cent and Northern Star advancing 2.6 per cent.

Santos rose 0.8 per cent to $7.24 even as the oil and gas producer lost a Federal Court appeal lodged by traditional owners the Gomeroi people related to approvals of four future petroleum leases near Narrabri, NSW.

Former message board darling Zip was up 7.7 per cent to an 18-month high of $1.26, having risen by nearly a third this month.

The Australian dollar was buying 65.78 US cents, from 65.18 cents at Tuesday’s ASX close.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Thursday up 30.2 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 7,763.7

* The broader All Ordinaries rose 36.4 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 8,026.7.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 65.78 US cents, from 65.18 US cents at Wednesday’s ASX close

* 97.42 Japanese yen, from 97.68 yen

* 60.35 Euro cents, from 59.74 Euro cents

* 51.66 British pence, from 51.29 pence

* 107.08 NZ cents, from 106.96 NZ cents.

 

AAP