Australia Market extends gain; energy, miner leads rally

The Australian share market finished higher for fifth straight session on Thursday, 03 March 2022, following Wall Street’s rise overnight on easing concerns over aggressive monetary tightening by the U. S. Federal Reserve after Chairman Jerome Powell said he supports a more modest interest rate hike this month than some investors had expected. Meanwhile, buying momentum also supported by hopes of further run-up in commodity prices due economic sanctions on Russia.

At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 rose 34.75 points, or 0.49%, to 7,151.40. The broader All Ordinaries index added 40.46 points, or 0.55%, to 7,446.79.

The top performing stocks in this index were POINTSBET HOLDINGS and WHITEHAVEN COAL, up 18.21% and 10.61% respectively.

The bottom performing stocks in this index were POLYNOVO and PLATINUM ASSET MANAGEMENT, down 6.4% and 5.2% respectively.

Investors tried to figure out the future path of U. S. interest rates after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in testimony before Congress that he is inclined to support a 25 basis point rate increase at the upcoming Fed meeting, instead of the 50 basis point hike recommended by some board members amid rising inflation in the country.

The Fed has kept its benchmark interest rate at zero to 0.25% since March 2020 to support the economy hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. Interest rate hikes lead to higher borrowing costs for companies and households.

Market participants were also monitoring developments regarding a second round of cease-fire talks between Russia and Ukraine, which could take place Thursday.

Shares of Energy and metals sectors continued to soar as more companies joined an international boycott of Russian trade, sparking anxiety that supply will fall short in everything from wheat to natural gas. Whitehaven Coal and Yancoal both jumped around 11%.

ECONOMIC NEWS: Australia Services Sector Rebounds In February- Australia services sector bounced up into expansion territory in February, the latest survey from Markit Economics showed on Thursday with a services PMI score of 57.4. That’s up from 46.6 in January, and it moves back above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. The survey also showed that the composite index rose to 56.6 in February from 46.7 in January.

CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7321, largely holding on to gains from its climb below $0.72 earlier in the week.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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