The Australian sharemarket has kicked off the holidayshortened week cautiously, with the ASX 200 lifting by just
5.1 pts or 0.07 per cent to 7457.2. This marks the fourth consecutive trading day of gains with the index sitting at a
9-month high. This leaves the market roughly 2 per cent shy of its all-time best levels. A key risk this week will be
Wednesday’s December quarter Consumer Price Index (inflation) data, which has the ability to change the market’s
expectations for upcoming Reserve Bank interest rate hikes.
Energy stocks rose strongly following a 1.2 per cent lift in oil prices, thanks in part to the reopening of China’s
economy. The mining sector was held back by BHP Group (BHP) which slumped by 1.1 per cent. South32 (S32) released its quarterly update before market open, flagging further growth in production and potentially lower costs in the first half of the year.
Gold stocks were higher, following a lift in gold prices and a weakening greenback. Both Evolution (EVN) and
Newcrest Mining (NCM) are scheduled to post quarterly results this week.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (FPH) fell most, sliding by 2.8 per cent. This followed an outsized ~5 per cent jump on
Friday after flagging stronger sales growth and greater demand for its hospital equipment in China.
Perpetual (PPT) completed its acquisition of rival Pendal (PDL), lifting by 2 per cent. The money manager now
manages roughly A$200bn.
Top Australian Brokers
Sezzle (SZL) surged by 37 per cent after reporting its second straight profitable month. The buy-now-pay-later
(BNPL) provider slumped by 86 per cent in 2022, however more than tripled in 2020.
Booktopia (BKG) gained 34 per cent after the online books retailer announced a number of initiatives aimed at
boosting profits by as much as $15m annually.
3.1bn shares were traded, worth $6.3bn. 750 stocks rose, 623 fell and 449 finished unchanged.
Looking forward, the Shanghai Stock Exchange will shut all week for the Lunar New Year holidays. US earnings
season will peak over the next 10 sessions, with Microsoft and Tesla scheduled to release quarterly results this week.
Originnally published by Steven Daghlian – Market Analyst (Author), CommSec