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Rates on the Rise: Market Jitters Lead to ASX Plunge

Rates on the Rise: Market Jitters Lead to ASX Plunge

Significant market movements underscore the growing concerns over a possible interest rate hike by the Reserve Bank of Australia, resulting in a marked drop in the nation’s share market.
The S&P/ASX200 index faced a jarring fall, dropping 1.4 per cent which translates into a 107.1 point retreat, ending the session at 7575.9—a notable slump affecting a broad range of sectors.

Amid the tumble, the broader All Ordinaries was not immune, with losses amounting to 1.3 percent, dragging it down to 7837.4, even as the Australian Dollar found a small edge, appreciating 0.3 percent against the US dollar.

Speculation among traders is ablaze following the latest Consumer Price Index data which exceeded expectations, leading to an upheaval in the 10-year Australian government bond yields which soared 19 basis points, landing at 4.59 percent. Adam Boyton, ANZ’s Chief Economist imparted a perspective of caution and patience in interpreting the cues from CPI regarding upcoming monetary policies.

The fresh statistical insights caused a rethink in money markets that previously were leaning towards a 70 percent likelihood of rate reduction. However, by the week's end, this perspective had shifted dramatically, with the probabilities now favoring an increase in the cash rate to 4.6 percent at the Reserve Bank's forthcoming August congregation.

Scrutiny shifted to sector performances as well, where industrials bore the brunt of the market's declining confidence, which saw companies such as Transurban fall behind by 3.6 percent. Banking giants were not shielded from the downturn, notably Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), National Australia Bank (NAB), Westpac, and ANZ all ending in negative territory.

In the materials sector, despite gains from Fortescue and Rio Tinto, the overall index fell, influenced by a steep decline in BHP shares following its contentious $60 billion acquisition offer for Anglo American, which was outright rejected as being opportunistic and ill-valued by the latter.

Notable individual stock performances saw Newmont riding high on better-than-expected quarterly results, while Resmed reported substantial profitability, achieving a 29 percent increase in net income. However, Super Retail Group's shares dipped following an announcement that the company would contest allegations by two employees seeking considerable damages.

The acquisitions landscape saw movement with MetCash experiencing a minor stumble, even as the green light was given by the competition watchdog for its proposed takeover of wholesale food distributor Superior Food Services.

Published:Monday, 29th Apr 2024
Source: Paige Estritori

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