The share market sealed its longest winning run of the year and a 14-month closing high as inflation worries continued to dissipate.
The S&P/ASX 200 rallied 42 points or 0.61 per cent to its first four-day advance since early December. The index rose as high as 6934 in morning trade and closed at 6928, its strongest finish since last February.
What moved the market
The index has risen almost 190 points in four sessions as the dust settled after a month-long global inflation tantrum. A retreat in bond yields helped lift the ASX 200 out of a sideways trading pattern yesterday and extend that move this session.
Two of today’s best-performing sectors – REITs and I.T. – were among those hardest hit by ructions in bond markets. The yield on ten-year Australian bonds eased another three basis points this afternoon. The Reserve Bank yesterday reassured investors it did not expect to raise the cash rate until at least 2024.
“Market concerns seem to be pacified by the repeated assurance from central banks quashing the possibility of early tightening of monetary policy amid inflation concerns. Keeping rates at 0.1% as expected, the RBA has again emphasised that no hike is likely until 2024 at the earliest until wage growth and inflation pick up decisively,” Kalkine Group CEO Kunal Sawhney said.
Bond markets were unmoved by signs of inflationary pressures in the building industry. The AiG Performance of Construction Index climbed 4.4 points to a record 61.8 last month.
“Employment grew at the most rapid pace in the history of the series and wages rose faster than at any time since the Global Financial Crisis,” Ai Group Head of Policy, Dr Peter Burn, said.
Consumer confidence dropped as JobKeeper ended and Brisbane went into lockdown. ANZ’s weekly measure declined 4.6 points last week, the sharpest fall since last March.
Tech stocks rose for a fourth day, climbing 1 per cent to their highest point since late February. Afterpay gained 2.1 per cent, Codan 1.7 per cent and Pushpay 1.1 per cent.
EML Payments was briefly the index’s best performer, hitting a new high before trimming its rise to 5.5 per cent on news of a move into open banking. The payments platform will acquire European payments provider Sentenial for around $108.6 million up-front and an earn-out of $62.1 million. Sentenial’s customers include four of the UK’s top banks.
The REIT sector surged to its strongest level of the year. Real estate investment trusts offer an attractive alternative to bonds when yields decline. Charter Hall Group rallied 3.2 per cent, GPT Group 2.2 per cent, Dexus 2.3 per cent and Goodman Group 0.8 per cent.
Healthcare, another bond surrogate, gained 0.4 per cent as Sonic added 2.5 per cent, Fisher & Paykel 2.4 per cent and Ramsay 1.5 per cent. CSL faded to a loss of 0.2 per cent.
The heavyweight miners were mixed. Newcrest gained 1.3 per cent, Rio Tinto 1.2 per cent and BHP less than 0.1 per cent. Fortescue Metals shed 0.2 per cent.
The banks shook off early weakness. Westpac tacked on 0.6 per cent after APRA signed off on the bank’s plan to fix its risk governance. ANZ gained 0.3 per cent, NAB 0.4 per cent and CBA 0.6 per cent.
Positive drill results from Cote d’Ivoire helped lift gold miner Perseus 5.3 per cent. An updated mine plan boosted Resolute shares by 5.5 per cent.
Ramelius Resources edged up 3.2 per cent after hitting its quarterly gold target. The miner produced 66,029 ounces in the first three months, the lower end of guidance.
The biggest heavyweight drags besides Fortescue and CSL were supermarket Coles -0.8 per cent, Macquarie Group -0.3 per cent and Telstra -0.3 per cent.
Cleanaway sank 4.7 per cent after rival Veolia attacked Suez Groupe’s plan to sell the Australian waste manager its Australian operations. Veolia, which wants to acquire Suez, accused its target of acting against its own shareholders’ best interests.
Adbri declined 5 per cent as it traded without the right to a dividend.
Asian markets trimmed early falls. The Asia Dow more than halved its loss to 0.15 per cent. China’s Shanghai Composite shed 0.48 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.7 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.1 per cent.
S&P 500 futures traded unchanged following last night’s modest retreat. Dow futures edged up 25 points or less than 0.1 per cent.
Oil extended overnight gains. Brent crude rallied 14 cents or 0.2 per cent to US$62.88 a barrel.
“Oil prices seem to be supported by the US and Chinese service sectors gathering steam,” Kalkine’s Sawhney said. “Loosening lockdown restrictions in England is an encouraging sign from demand perspective.”
Gold retreated $4.50 or 0.3 per cent from last night’s five-week high to US$1,738.50 an ounce.
The dollar dipped 0.09 per cent to 76.54 US cents.