The ASX 200 fell by 63.6 pts or 0.86 per cent on Friday to 7346.8, taking the losses to ~1.1 per cent this week and dragging the index closer to Wednesday’s 4-week low. The enthusiasm that pushed the ASX 200 to near record highs earlier this month has clearly died down recently, not helped by a number of disappointing profit results and repeated Reserve Bank (RBA) comments warning of further rate hikes.
Nine of 11 sectors lost ground today, led by interest rate sensitive areas of the market. Tech, property and consumer discretionary stocks went backwards, despite receiving a boost on Thursday thanks to disappointing jobs data, which opened the door for fewer rate hikes ahead. Those hopes were dashed today by the Reserve Bank Governor who reiterated the need for additional rate hikes.
A number of coal miners were on the receiving end of broker price target cuts. Both Whitehaven (WHC) and New Hope (NHC) fell by ~5 per cent. Keep in mind that both were the ASX
200’s best performers in 2022 thanks to record coal prices.
QBE Insurance (QBE) rose most, lifting 7.4 per cent after managing to increase its annual profit and dividend despite plenty of bad weather.
The a2 Milk Company (A2M) rose by 6.3 per cent, enough to send the infant formula maker to a 16-month high. A2M moved a step closer to receiving regulatory approval in China.
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GrainCorp (GNC) rose by 2.4 per cent after flagging better than expected profits for the year (FY23) as global demand for agricultural commodities remains strong.
Next week is set to be one of the busiest weeks of the year for half-year results. Mining giants BHP and Rio Tinto (RIO) are scheduled to post earnings. The a2 Milk Company (A2M), Coles (COL), Woolworths (WOW), Santos (STO) and Qantas (QAN) will be just some of the companies reporting.
A quarterly update on Australian wages growth will be a highlight next Wednesday, with potential ramifications for market pricing on upcoming rate hikes.
2.9bn shares were traded today, worth a much heavier than usual $9.2bn. 459 stocks rose, 842 fell and 444 finished unchanged.
Originally published by Steven Daghlian – Market Analyst (Author), CommSec