The Australian sharemarket managed to secure its fourth straight win on the final trading day of the week and month, with the ASX 200 up by 55.5pts or 0.8 per cent, to 6945.2. With the exception of healthcare stocks, all sectors improved on Friday. Property stocks climbed most (+2.94 per cent) and mining stocks lifted 1 per cent.

Over the week, the ASX 200 added 2.3 per cent – its second straight weekly win. Nine sectors of the market improved, with mining stocks posting their best weekly gain since March this year.

In July, the ASX 200 rose by 5.74 per cent. The ASX Small Ords surged 11.4 per cent – its best monthly gain since April 2020. Ten sectors posted monthly gains, with the consumer discretionary, tech and telecommunications sectors all snapping three-straight months of losses.

In economic news, business inflation rose by 1.4 per cent in the June quarter, to be up 5.6 per cent on a year ago, the strongest annual growth rate in 13½ years (since December 2008). The main contributors to the quarterly growth in producer prices were output of building construction (+3.9 per cent), petroleum refining & petroleum fuel manufacturing (+31.5 per cent), and heavy & civil engineering construction (+2.8 per cent).

In company news, Star Entertainment Group (SGR) released a trading update this morning. The casino operator expects its FY22 revenues to be around $1.53bn, and its net debt to be around $1.15bn. SGR also informed investors of a delayed opening to its Integrated Resort Development facility in Brisbane as a result of ‘higher than average rainfall’. SGR shares finished flat.

PointsBet Holdings (PBH) was one of the worst performers on the ASX 200 today, shedding 11 per cent. The online sports-betting company released a quarterly report this morning, which detailed a $53 million spend in marketing (in-line with prior quarter). PBH still holds $470 million in cash.

Shares of Zip Co (ZIP) had a rather volatile trading session today after losing 25.3 per cent despite being up by as much as 13 per cent earlier in the session. The buy-now-pay-later company released a quarterly update at the tail-end of last week, where it mentioned initiatives to reduce its cash burn. Over July, shares of Zip have climbed 158 per cent, but are still down 74 so far this year.

3.7bn shares were traded, worth $6.8bn. 994 stocks rose, 414 fell & 376 finished unchanged.

In the US, personal income and spending figures are released with the employment cost index and the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure – the core PCE deflator. The Chicago purchasing managers’ index (PMI) is also due with the final reading on consumer confidence.

Exxon, Chevron, Proctor & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive are set to post quarterly earnings results tonight.

Originally published by Divik Nigam – (Author), Chief Economist, CommSec