The Australian sharemarket has extended its gains to a fourth straight day after the S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 1 per cent or 70pts, to 7183. This followed an encouraging set of economic reading released overnight, which helped push US stocks higher. While 9 of the 11 sectors finished in positive territory today, mining stocks did much of the heavy lifting.

The Wage Price Index (WPI) was handed down today. Data indicated that the annual growth in wages ticked higher from 2.3 per cent to 2.4 per cent. A tight labour market and a greater focusby businesses to retain and attract workers, is setting the foundation for potentially larger increases in wage growth over the next few quarters.

Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) said that “both the CEO of Fortescue and the CEO of Fortescue Future Industries (FFI)” will “report directly to the board”. FMG has also appointed Andrew Forrest as its executive chairman, Elizabeth Gaines as the Global Brand Ambassador for FFI, and Mark Hutchinson – former CEO of General Electric Europe – as CEO of FFI by the end of 2022.

BlueScope Steel (BSL) upgraded its underlying earnings (EBIT) guidance for the 2H of FY2022 by 11.8 per cent. The steel maker says that its upgrade is driven by “better than expected realised steel prices and spreads in the United States”. Shares climbed 2 per cent today.

Automotive retailer Eagers Automotive (APE) expects to deliver a 13.4 per cent fall in its underlying operating profit before tax for the half-year ended June 30, 2022. This comes after APE flagged a reduction in vehicle deliveries due to a supply shortage caused by an ongoing “semi-conductor shortage” and other “global events”. APE shares today slipped 3.3 per cent.

Shares in Boral (BLD) fell by 3.1 per cent after it warned of a $45m hit to its annual profits, which it blamed on the extraordinary rainfall in NSW and QLD and higher energy costs. The bad weather has dented demand for its building products. This marked its second downgrade in two months.

Tomorrow, shares of Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC) and Pendal Group (PDL) will trade ex-dividend.

4.2bn shares were traded, worth $7.9bn. 899 stocks finished higher, 556 ended lower, while 379 closed unchanged.

In the US, data on housing starts and building permits is released.

Originally published by Divik Nigam – (Author), CommSec