The Australian share market has gained ground, with a major sell-off in the banking sector being outweighed by gains for the miners and oil producers.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Wednesday up 25.4 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 7,121.1, while the broader All Ordinaries rose 28.4 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 7,347.
The financial sector dropped 2.85 per cent while every other sector gained, with energy rising 4.2 per cent and utilities up 3.2 per cent.
“It was haves and have nots,” said Saxo Markets Australian market strategist Jessica Amir.
Australia’s oldest company, Westpac, dropped 6.1 per cent to a three-month low of $21.98, its worst single-day loss since the first COVID lockdowns were imposed in March 2020.
CBA fell 4.4 per cent to a three-month low of $97.47, NAB was down 4.0 per cent to a three-month low of $28.91, and ANZ fell 2.3 per cent to a 16-month low of $23.89.
Outside the big four, Bank of Queensland dropped 4.3 per cent to a 19-month low of $7.05 and Bendigo and Adelaide were down 7.2 per cent to a three-month low of $9.81, although investment bank Macquarie gained 1.0 per cent to $179.24.
Ms Amir said the losses were tied to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to raise rates more than the market had expected on Tuesday.
“We’re expecting lending to continue to fall, and banks are at a risk of their already pressured profit margins to fall again,” she said.
“Property lending is falling and bad debts are likely to rise, and people will be forced unfortunately to sell their properties as well.
“So that means banks’ earnings will be falling.”
On the flip side, uranium stocks soared after the Biden administration unveiled a US$4.3 billion plan to buy the nuclear-reactor fuel directly from domestic producers in a bid to wean the country off Russian imports.
BHP – whose Olympic Dam mine in South Australia is one of the world’s biggest deposits of uranium – rose 2.3 per cent to $47.37, while Ranger mine majority shareholder Rio Tinto was up 2.0 per cent to $118.92.
Among smaller players, Paladin Energy gained 13.5 per cent to 80c, Boss Energy advanced 11.9 per cent and Bannerman Energy was up 9.5 per cent.
Woodside rose 5.6 per cent to $34.74 and Santos gained 3.4 per cent to $8.76 as Goldman Sachs forecast Brent crude would average US$140 a barrel between July and September, up from its current price of US$120 a barrel.
Goldminers Newcrest, Northern Star and Evolution were all up, led by Northern Star and its 2.3 per cent rise.
Boral soared 14.7 per cent to $3.28 after former InfraBuild boss Vik Bansal was appointed as the building and construction company’s next CEO and managing director, effective December 5.
Mr Bansal led ASX-listed Cleanaway through a transformation between 2015 and 2021, but was ousted following accusations he had created a toxic workplace culture.
Boral chairman Ryan Stokes said Mr Bansal was a “seasoned leader with extensive experience, and has a track record of instilling discipline and efficiency in complex businesses to create value for all stakeholders”.
Atlas Arteria had climbed 16.2 per cent to a two-year high of $8.25 after IFM Investors’ Diamond Infraco took a 15 per cent stake in the toll road company in a prelude to a possible takeover offer.
Mosiac Brands plunged 55.6 per cent to an all-time low of 20c after the woman’s clothing retailer behind Noni B and W Lane said it expects to report a full-year loss after disappointing sales during May and its key Mother’s Day trading period.
The Australian dollar was buying 72.07 US cents, from 71.96 US cents at Tuesday’s close.
ON THE ASX:
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Wednesday up 25.4 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 7,121.1
The All Ordinaries index closed up 28.4 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 7,347.
One Australian dollar buys:
72.07 US cents, from 71.96 US cents when the ASX closed on Tuesday
96.16 Japanese yen, from 95.45 yen
67.43 Euro cents, from 67.30 cents
57.35 British pence, from 57.62pence
111.57 NZ cents, from 111.42 cents
(Australian Associated Press)