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An overnight rally on Wall Street helped the Aussie market finish near session highs and secure its third straight improvement, with the ASX 200 adding 66.5pts or 0.97 per cent to 6889.7. Nine sectors and 150 stocks finished higher. Materials and Financials did most of the heavy-lifting, after rising 2.4 per cent and 0.8 per cent, respectively. The Tech sector recorded its second-straight gain and was helped by the US Nasdaq index posting its best daily rise in around 2¼ years.

With only one trading day left this month, the Aussie market is up 4.9 per cent and is on track to snap a three month losing streak and record its best month since March. The ASX Small Ordinaries index is also on a similar path and is set to post its best monthly gain since November 2020, having climbed 10.2 per cent already this month.

In economic news, the US Federal Reserve, as expected, increased its target range for the Federal Funds rate by 75 basis points, to 2.25-2.50 per cent. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said policymakers were “strongly committed” to reducing inflation and it was “necessary to have slow growth”.

In company news, Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) released a quarterly update. Its fourth-quarter iron ore shipments were flat over the quarter, but its full-year shipments exceed its annual guidance. A 136 per cent quarterly increase in FMG’s cash balance (to US$5.2bn) helped the iron ore miner reduce its net debt by US$1.5bn, to US$0.9m. FMG shares climbed 2.9 per cent today and are on track to snap two straight months of losses.

Macquarie Group (MQG) released its first quarter (1Q2023) update. MQG says that its quarterly combined net profits from its markets-facing businesses (Macquarie Capital and Commodities & Global Markets), and its annuity-style businesses (Banking and Financial Services and Macquarie Asset Management) have improved over the year. The bank also cautioned investors of softer trading conditions over the quarter. MQG shares climbed 2.97 per cent today but are still down 12.9 per cent so far this year.

Kogan (KGN) climbed 50.2 per cent and had its best day on record after it increased its net cash position and ‘significantly unwinded’ its FY22 inventory position to $161.1m. Gross sales generated
increased modestly by 0.1 per cent over the year, and were driven by a 20 per cent annual increase in gross sales from its marketplace. Kogan shares are still down 46.7 per cent so far this year.

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

In the US, economic growth (GDP), initial jobless claims and manufacturing data are due.

Published by CommSec