The Australian sharemarket lifted again on Friday, despite a mixed finish on Wall Street. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose by 46.5 points or 0.6 per cent to 7,558.1, edging closer to record highs of 7,632.8.
On Thursday, the US Dow Jones index fell by 39 points or 0.1 per cent. But the S&P 500 index gained 1.5 per cent and the Nasdaq index added 384.5 points or 3.3 per cent, with both around 5-month highs.
After the close of US trade, Apple (AAPL), Alphabet (GOOGL) and Amazon (AMZN) released earnings results. In after-hours trade, shares in Apple fell 3.2 per cent; with AMZN down 5.1 per cent and GOOGL down 4.6 per cent.
Turning to Australia, on Friday 10 of 12 industry sectors posted gains. Health Care rose 2.6 per cent and Property Trusts rose 2.4 per cent. But Materials fell 1.5 per cent and Utilities fell 0.2 per cent.
Shares in Bega Group (BGA) fell 4 per cent on Friday. BGA announced that Chief Executive Officer Paul van Heerwaarden will resign his position today. Earlier, on October 22, BGA indicated that Mr Van Heerwaarden would step down with a transition to Pete Findlay as the new CEO.
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Insurer IAG (IAG) provided an update on the Auckland flooding and its estimated financial impact on profit guidance, together with the preliminary financial results for the half-year ended 31 December 2022. IAG said underlying margins for the first six months of this financial year would fall from 15.1 per cent to 10.7 per cent. Shares in IAG fell by 2.1 per cent on Friday.
International equities and debt manager, Janus Henderson (JHG) reported that total assets under management rose 5 per cent to $US287 billion at the end of the December quarter. Shares in JHG rose 12.9 per cent.
Openpay Group (OPY) has been suspended from quotation “pending the release of an announcement regarding its ongoing funding arrangements.”
In terms of economic data, the Bureau of Statistics reported that housing loans fell by 4.3 per cent in December to be down 29.3 per cent over the year.
On Friday, 4.3 billion shares were traded, worth $9.1 billion. Overall 726 stocks rose over the session, while 666 fell and 418 finished unchanged.
In the US on Friday, nonfarm payrolls (employment) data is issued with the ISM and S&P Global services indexes.
Originally published by Craig James – Chief Economist (Author), CommSec