Despite a mixed lead from Wall Street overnight, the Australian sharemarket finished 0.4 per cent or 26 pts higher, to 7155.2. Banks were noteworthy winners and were supported by a lift in US treasury yields and a hike in the New Zealand interest rate. The big four banks all climbed by at least 1 per cent. The Tech sector on the other hand lost 3 per cent after a 2.4 per cent slide in the tech-heavy Nasdaq index dampened investor sentiment. At the close, 8 of the 11 sectors finished in positive territory.

A 1 per cent lift in the gold price overnight supported the Materials sector today despite most other hard commodities posting declines. Gold miners were amongst the top performing stocks today with Perseus Mining (PRU) lifting by 4.5 per cent to $1.96, Evolution Mining (EVN) climbing by 3.5 per cent to $3.82 and Orica (ORI) finishing 3.5 per cent higher to $16.14.

In economic news, challenging conditions in the construction sector in the March quarter saw building costs jump by 2.8 per cent – the biggest quarterly lift in 21½ years. Construction work done fell by 0.9 per cent in the March quarter. Job advertisements increased by 8.0 per cent in April to reach record highs (series starts in January 2006). Job advertisements increased across 47 of the 48 detailed occupational groups in April.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) increased its cash rate by 50 basis points, to 2 per cent. The RBNZ has forecasted its cash rate to rise to at least 3.25 per cent this year. RBNZ says that its Monetary Policy Committee ‘remains resolute in its commitment to ensure consumer price inflation returns to within the 1 to 3 per cent target range’.

In company news, shares of Costa Group (CGC) climbed by 8.6 per cent after it hosted its annual general meeting (AGM) today. In its AGM, CGC said that it expects its current calendar year earnings to increase by around $5 million, but its net profits to decrease by $6.4 million. It also expects its fertiliser, packaging and export shipping costs to remain elevated throughout CY22.

Fisher & Paykel (FPH) shares have shed 2.3 per cent and are on track to post their six straight month of declines. Today’s decline however comes after FPH announced a 15 per cent fall in its fullyear operating revenues and a 28 per cent decline in its profits. FPH also withdrew its guidance for the current fiscal year

Shares of Virtus Health (VRT) finished flat after it received another takeover offer from BGH Capital, for $8.15 per share. VRT says that the revised offer is “consistent with section 651A of the Corporations Act” after BGH’s broker, UBS Securities, “acquired shares on 24 May 2022 on market at $8.15 per share”.

4bn shares were traded, worth $7.6bn. 614 stocks finished higher, 779 ended lower, while 414 closed unchanged.

In the US, minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting are released, in addition to Durable Goods Orders for April.

Originally published by Divik Nigam – (Author) CommSec