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Australian sharemarket goes from strength to strength, with both key indices climbing to fresh record highs


The ASX keeps charging higher, with both key indices climbing to new all-time peaks, seemingly due to the R.B.A.’s voR.B.A.’s confidence in the economy. The Australian share market has smashed records yet again, apparently helped by Tuesday’s vote of confidence in the local economy by the Reserve Bank and a positive overnight lead from Wall Street.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index strengthened 0.38 percent to finish above 7500 points for the first time at 7503.2, while the All Ordinaries Index rose 0.36 percent to 7778.7. Both were new closing peaks, while the ASX/200 hit a new intraday record of 7509 in morning trade. So far this calendar year, the local bourse is up almost 14 percent.

The ASX hit fresh record highs on Monday following ten straight months of gains. On Tuesday, many economists were surprised when the Reserve Bank stuck to plans to start reining in some of its stimulus programs from September despite Covid-19 lockdowns, CommSec analyst Steve Daghlian said. “Economists were expecting those plans to be pushed out, reversed, or at least revised,” Mr. Daghlian said.


“On the Covid front, Victoria, encouraging numbers there, with no new cases over the past day, but Queensland has had 17, and also the number of locally acquired cases in Greater Sydney has jumped back up to 233 even though we’ve had five full weeks of lockdowns. “That’s continuing for August as well – that’s undoubtedly still a genuine concern for our market.

“But for the most part, it’s been put to one side, and investors have focused on other things instead.” S&P Global Ratings said it did not expect the lockdowns would significantly delay fiscal repair or weigh heavily on the nation’s A.A.A. ratiA.A.A.despite no expected repeat of last year’s significant budgetary support.

“The government’s plan to fully vaccinate more than 70 percent of the adult population by year-end should help to limit Covid-19-related economic and fiscal damage,” the rating agency said. Mining stocks stood out, with Rio Tinto advancing 1.52 percent to $134.40, B.H.P. gainB.H.P. 2.08 percent to $54.06, and Fortescue rising 0.38 percent to $24.09.

R.B.C. CapiR.B.C. Markets mining analyst Kaan Peker said his company expected substantial steel production volumes in China after the central government said it would relax its decarbonization efforts following a mandated reduction in output over 2021 that was defied by many provinces.

“China is still committed to curbing its steel production but not quite as aggressively as initially announced,” O.M.G. chieO.M.G.xecutive Ivan Tchourilov said. On the iron ore supply front, some Chinese ports refused to accept Indian cargoes due to the heightened Covid-19 risk, Mr. Peker said.

Lithium producer Pilbara Minerals jumped 4.57 percent to $2.06. At the same time, Vulcan Energy soared 15.88 percent to $11.53 after investors responded favorably to an update on its combined lithium chemicals and renewable energy project in Germany.

Mr. Tchourilov said nickel, copper, and gold explorer Chalice Mining pared last week’s gains, shedding 5.62 percent to $7.22. “While still pricing high, copper and nickel lost their steam early this month due to the slowdown in the Chinese market,” he said.

Woodside Petroleum gained 1 percent to $22.04 despite reporting a 5 percent higher cost estimate for its Scarborough project off Western Australia and modifications to its onshore Pluto processing facility to accommodate gas from the field, now totaling $US12bn ($A16.2bn).

A.N.Z. firmA.N.Z.0.2 percent to $28.07, Commonwealth Bank added 0.77 percent to $102.23, and Westpac lifted 0.16 percent to $24.84, but National Australia Bank eased 0.08 percent $26.32. Air New Zealand flagged larger earnings losses due to the suspension of the trans-Tasman travel bubble last month, sending its shares 0.7 percent lower to $1.40.

Leaders mortgage insurance provider Genworth surged 7.55 percent to $2.28 after booking the first-half return to profitability and the resumption of dividends. “Certainly receiving a boost from the housing market boom, and that has meant a lift in the number of people requiring lenders mortgage insurance – these are people who have deposits that are perhaps a little too small to get bank approval,” Mr. Daghlian said.

Realestate.com.au owner R.E.A. GrouR.E.A.which is majority held by the publisher of this title News Corp, announced it had completed the sale of its Malaysia and Thailand entities to PropertyGuru in exchange for an 18 percent equity interest in that company and also completed the divestment of its 27 percent interest in 99 Group. Shares in R.E.A. apprR.E.A.ated 0.83 percent to $167.49.

G.U.D., wG.U.D.sells automotive products, pumps, pool, and spa systems, reported a nearly 33 percent rise in full-year underlying net profit, saying the car-related business had a stellar year. Still, the pandemic hit its Davey pumps operations, with production lines idled. Shares in G.U.D. deG.U.D.d 3.3 percent to $11.70.

Temple & Webster dropped 1.43 percent to $12.39, JB Hi-FiJ.B.ave up 1.07 percent to $48.93, and Harvey Norman retreated 0.86 percent to $5.79. Still, Bunnings owner Wesfarmers rose 0.55 percent to $62.55 after A.B.S. retaA.B.S.sales figures for June showed a 1.8 decline, tracking consumer confidence for that month.

The hardware chain was in the headlines for remaining open during lockdowns in N.S.W. and N.S.W.ensland but had been closed during Victoria’s. The Aussie dollar bought 71.92 US cents, 54.75 British pence, and 60.87 Euro cents in afternoon trade.


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