The Aussie sharemarket kicked the holiday-shortened week off in negative territory, with the ASX 200 losing 19.2 points or 0.28 per cent, to 6719.9. Nine sectors and approximately 66 per cent of the ASX 200 finished with a decline, with the Utilities sector losing the most ground. Mining stocks managed to rise by as much as 1.3 per cent earlier in the session, but eased from its highs and finished the session with a modest gain of 0.02 per cent. Property stocks rose the most (up 0.9 per cent).

Lake Resources (LKE), after being up by as much as 22 per cent in early trade, finished with a gain of 12.4 per cent, and was the best performer in the ASX 200 today. This comes after the lithium developer advised that ‘ongoing work is being done by Lilac at the Kachi Project’ and that ‘all parties are confident on-site operations will be successful’. LKE also confirms that construction of the facility to house the Lilac demonstration plant is now complete. LKE
shares notched their best win in around 5½ weeks.

Origin (ORG) says that a non-cash post-tax loss of $70-$90 million, which it expects to record in its first-half financial statements, is related to the divestment of its gas exploration interest in the Beetaloo Basin. This comes as ORG undertakes a strategic review of all remaining exploration permits’. The Beetaloo Basin divestment is subject to consent from the North Territory government. Shares of ORG declined by 0.9 per cent.

Today marks the first session of trade following the S&P/ASX index rebalance. For the ASX 200, Capricorn Metals (CMM), Charter Hall Social Infrastructure REIT (CQE), Johns Lyng Group (JLG), and Lovisa Holdings (LOV) are just some of the few stocks added to the index. Companies that have been removed from the ASX 200 include ZIP Co (ZIP), PointsBet (PBH), EML Payments (EML) and AVZ Minerals (AVZ).

In terms of the sharemarket this week, a raft of dividends (worth around $18 billion) will be paid, underpinned by BHP Group’s (BHP) $12.5 billion final dividend. Telstra (TLS) is also scheduled to pay its 8.5 cents-per-share dividend on Wednesday (originally scheduled for the Thursday public holiday).


Top Australian Brokers


Another key signpost front of mind for investors and economists is the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision, that will be handed down on Thursday 4:00am AEST. Given that the sharemarket will be closed on Thursday, local investors will only be able to react to the news on Friday. Markets are expecting a 75 basis point rate hike, but given the hotter-than-expected inflation update released last week in the US, the case for a 100 basis point hike in rates (first time since 1988) is anticipated by few of the economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

In the US tonight, the NAHB housing market index is released.

Today, 3.5bn shares were traded, worth $5.9bn. 475 stocks rose, 895 fell & 418 finished unchanged.

Originally published by Divik Nigam – (Author), CommSec