The Aussie sharemarket finished lower for the fourth time this week after the ASX 200 shed another 1.25 per cent or 87.7 pts, to 6932. All sectors finished lower for the 13th time this year. The Financials sector posted its fifth straight decline after it lost another 1.6 per cent. Mining stocks also weighed on the index after Shanghai reintroduced Covid-19 lockdowns, putting pressure on the demand prospects of commodities.

The ASX 200 had its worst week since April 2020 after it shed 4.2 per cent. It was held back by a 9.0 per cent slump in the Financials sector, which was the sector’s most significant decline since the onset of Covid-19 in March 2020. This comes after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) raised its cash rate by 50 basis points on Tuesday, which was larger-than-expected.

In economic news, the European Central Bank (ECB) said it would end its bond buying scheme on July 1 and lift interest rates by 25 basis points. This is in line with its previous commentary. The ECB said inflation would average 6.8 per cent this year, above the 5.1 per cent predicted. China recorded an annual inflation rate of 6.4 per cent in May, which was in line with consensus expectations. This is a decline from the 8.0 per cent annual rate recorded in the previous month.

Locally, the preliminary Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) from the National Skills Commission rose by 0.9 per cent in May, to a 14-year high of 298,375 available positions. And according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), business turnover in April lifted in nine of the 13 selected industries.

In company news today, AGL Energy (AGL) expects its Loy Yang A Unit 2 outage to extend “until the second half of
September” (previously August 1). The outage extension is “driven by global supply chain issues and the availability of specialised materials”. Shares of AGL were down by as much as 2.6 per cent near the open, but managed to recover most of their losses and finish 0.2 per cent lower.

Bubs Australia (BUB) finished 9.2 per cent higher after it advised that its entire first chartered infant formula shipment to the US, will be purchased by 2 major US infant formula retailers; The Kroger Co & new retail partner, Albertsons Companies.

Air New Zealand (AIZ) now expects its loss in FY22 before other significant items and taxation to be “less than $750 million”. This is a $50 million improvement from AIZ’s previously expected $800 million loss, announced on March 30.

4.4bn shares were traded, worth $8.4bn. 351 stocks finished higher, 1116 ended lower, while 370 closed unchanged.

In the US, the highly anticipated consumer price index is released with consumer confidence and the May budget statement. The Australian sharemarket will be shut on Monday for the Queen’s Birthday holiday.

Originally published by Divik Nigam – (Author), CommSec