Aussie shares rise for first time in new financial year

Derek Rose |

The local share market has enjoyed its first day of gains in the new financial year, helped by dovish comments from US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell and better-than-expected domestic retail sales data.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Wednesday finished up 21.7 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 7,739.9, while the broader All Ordinaries gained 26.4 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 7,986.1.

At a monetary policy conference in Sintra, Portugal, Mr Powell overnight sounded a touch more dovish than his more recent messaging, hailing the “quite a bit of progress” the US had made to get inflation back to target.

Closer to home, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported on Wednesday retail sales rose 0.6 per cent in May, up from 0.1 per cent in April and better than the 0.3 per cent consensus forecasts.

ANZ economists Madeline Dunk and Blair Chapman said while it looked like a strong print, there had been seasonal factors at play with end-of-financial year sales ramping up earlier this year. 

Taking a longer view, the overall trend in retail spending had been weak in recent months, several economists said.

Seven of the ASX’s 11 sectors finished higher and four finished lower.

Tech was the biggest mover, rising 1.4 per cent as Wisetech Global climbed 2.1 per cent and Xero added 1.8 per cent.

In the energy sector, coalminers rose for a third day after Anglo American confirmed its Grosvenor coal mine in Queensland would be closed for several months following a still-burning underground fire.

Whitehaven Coal gained 3.8 per cent to an 18-month high of $8.92, while Yancoal added 2.1 per cent and New Hope climbed 1.7 per cent.

Uranium companies were well in the green, with Deep Yellow and Paladin rising a little more than six per cent and Boss Energy gaining 4.8 per cent as the price of yellowcake rebounded to $US85 a pound.

BHP rose 1.1 per cent to $43.65, Rio Tinto added 1.2 per cent to $121.11 and Fortescue gained 1.6 per cent to $21.92.

Chalice Mining dropped 19.5 per cent to a nearly two-month low of $1.22 after the Perth-based company announced a handshake agreement with Mitsubishi Corp to explore developing Chalice’s Gonneville platinum-palladium-nickel-copper-cobalt project 70km northeast of Perth.

The Big Four banks had a fairly quiet day, with NAB the biggest mover, dropping 0.7 per cent to $35.45. ANZ fell 0.4 per cent to $28.15 and CBA dipped 0.2 per cent to $125.38, while Westpac was basically flat at $27.12.

Shares in Booktopia remained suspended as the struggling online bookseller entered voluntary administration.

McGrathNicol Restructuring said it was undertaking an urgent assessment of Booktopia’s business while exploring options to sell or recapitalise the company.

One Australian dollar was buying 66.74 US cents, from 66.45 US cents on Tuesday.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Wednesday up 21.7 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 7,739.9.

* The broader All Ordinaries gained 26.4 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 7,986.1.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 66.74 US cents, from 66.45 US cents at Tuesday’s ASX close

* 108.02 Japanese yen, from 107.41 Japanese yen

* 62.15 euro cents, from 61.94 euro cents

* 52.62 British pence, from 52.60 pence

* 109.86 NZ cents, from 109.82 NZ cents.