ASX gains 0.8pc on Fed relief rally

·4-min read

The local bourse has finished higher across the board, as markets breathed a sigh of relief the US won't raise interest rates aggressively.

The benchmark S&P/200 index finished Thursday up 60 points, or 0.82 per cent, to 7,364.7, while the broader All Ordinaries climbed 74.4 points, or 0.98 per cent, to 7,639.2.

Betashares chief economist David Bassanese said the market was rallying after Fed chairman Jerome Powell revealed US central bankers weren't considering exceptionally large rate hikes, and could tame inflation without triggering a recession.

The Fed raised rates by 50 basis points (0.5 percentage points), but Powell told the market that 75 basis point hikes weren't under active consideration.

"The market may have been reassured, but I think there will still be some heavy sledding ahead," Mr Bassanese said.

Tech stocks were the biggest gainers on Thursday, collectively climbing 2.5 per cent as Wisetech Global advanced 3.7 per cent and Xero rose 3.4 per cent.

Every sector was higher except for financials, which were flat as three of the big banks and Macquarie Group dipped.

NAB dropped 0.6 per cent to a five-week low of $32.25, despite increasing its interim dividend to 73 cents per share after reporting a 4.1 per cent rise in its half year cash profit to $3.5 billion.

ANZ dropped 1.7 per cent to $26.91, Westpac dipped 0.3 per cent to $24.01 and Macquarie Group fell 1.0 per cent to $202.66.

CBA was the outlier, climbing 0.7 per cent to $103.71.

QBE rose 5.5 per cent to a two month high of $12.68 after the insurance giant announced gross written premium rose 19 per cent in the first quarter, compared to a year ago.

Qantas dropped 0.4 per cent to $5.65 after the flag carrier announced plans to acquire charter flight operator Alliance Aviation for $919 million.

Alliance, whose shareholders would receive $4.75 in Qantas stock per Alliance share under the deal, soared 21.1 per cent to $4.25.

The energy and materials sectors were the other big gainers of the day, rising 2.0 and 1.5 per cent, respectively.

Mr Bassanese said the market was rotating out of growth stocks and into value ones.

Woodside Petroleum added 2.2 per cent, Santos advanced 1.4 per cent and Yancoal climbed 7.4 per cent.

Iron ore giant Fortescue Metals was up 3.5 per cent to $20.83, BHP gained 0.1 per cent to $47.45 and Rio Tinto added 0.4 per cent to $111.58.

Goldminers Newcrest, Northern Star and Evolution all advanced between 2.1 and 2.8 per cent as the price of the precious metal edged higher.

Shopping centre owner Vicinity Centres gained 4.1 per cent to a five-week high of $1.91 after announcing retail sales during the March quarter rose 11.2 per cent, compared with the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.

"Consumers continue to shop with purpose and are demonstrating an ongoing willingness and capacity to spend in our centres," chief executive Grant Kelley said.

Amcor gained 5.7 per cent to $17.69 after the packaging company announced net sales were up 15.6 million to $3.7 million.

Janus Henderson fell 13 per cent to a three-month low of $37.76 after the investment company announced assets under management dropped eight per cent during the March quarter.

BWX plunged 20.6 per cent to a three-year low of $1.48 after the health and beauty products company said recent acquisitions and investments in people and marketing had not translated into revenue growth.

Small cap companies were big gainers, with the Small Ordinaries small-cap index up 2.2 per cent.

The Aussie dollar hit a two-week high against its US counterpart, which weakened after the Fed's move. The Aussie was buying 72.43 US cents, from 71.14 US cents on Wednesday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished up 60 points, or 0.82 per cent, to close at 7,364.7 on Thursday.

* The All Ordinaries index climbed 74.4 points, or 0.98 per cent, to 7,639.2.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 72.43 US cents, from 71.14 US cents when the ASX closed on Wednesday

* 93.57 Japanese yen, from 92.57 yen

* 68.14 Euro cents, from 67.58 cents

* 57.58 British pence, from 56.90 pence

* 110.79 NZ cents, from 110.59 NZ cents.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting