After a mammoth runup since late May from the lows of 6,919, the Australian sharemarket closed at a new record high on Friday, extending its impressive bull-run, after carving in an all-time high on Wednesday at 7,334.90.
After dodging many obstacles this week, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index, at the closing bell, eked out a +9.8 points gain, or +0.13%, to 7,312.3, while the All Ordinaries added +18.4 points, or +0.24%, to 7,577.2.
Materials, Information Technology, Energy, and Healthcare, were offset by losses in Financials.
U.S. headline inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped again in May, marking its highest annual inflation rate since the summer of 2008 amid the economic recovery from the pandemic-triggered recession, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
The U.S. (CPI), which represents a basket including food, energy, groceries, and prices across a spectrum of goods, rose 0.6% in May on a seasonally adjusted basis and was up a stunning 5.0% from a year ago, coming in hotter than consensus expectations.
The U.S. core (CPI), which excludes food and energy, was up 3.8% year on year, the highest since 1992.
Separate data released Thursday showed U.S. jobless claims for the week ended June 5 came in at 376,000, versus the 370,000 forecasts, extending a recent decline for unemployment benefits and adding to signs of a healing labour market.
However, the total still marked the lowest of the pandemic era.
Next week, eyes turn to RBA Governor Lowe’s speech, followed by Australia’s May jobs data, while offshore, we also have the U.S. Federal Reserve’s meeting (rate decision) scheduled for June 15-16.
The statement will be closely scrutinised to see whether the Fed begins to believe that inflation is higher than expected or that the economy is strengthening enough to progress without much monetary support.
The Financial sector ended in the red, with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group leading the “Fab Four” (banks) lower after settling at a -1.53% loss to $28.25, while Westpac Banking Corp fell -1.13%, to $26.29, National Australia Bank ended down -0.6%, to $26.46, and the Commonwealth Bank lost -0.48%, to $101.36.
Meanwhile, Macquarie Group tumbled -0.62% and settled at $151.56.
Energy stocks rebounded, with Woodside Petroleum rising +0.9% to $23.62, while Oil Search rose +0.74 to $4.10, Santos gained +0.92%, to $7.67, Beach Energy climbed +0.37% to $1.35, while Worley tumbled -0.76%, to $11.75.
Technology stocks were firmer with Buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay climbing +3.68%, to $103.52, accounting software provider Xero rose +0.73%, to $134.08, Altium added +0.84, to $35.00, Megaport gained +1.83%, to $16.13, NEXTDC added +1.98%, to $11.85, EML lost -3.83%, to $3.77, Zip Co rose +4.08%, to $7.14 and Nearmap advanced +1.63%, to $1.87.
Materials were firmer, with Fortescue Metals Group leading the titans higher after climbing +1.71%, to $23.22, while BHP Group rose +1.35% to $48.95, and Rio Tinto eked out a +0.02% gain of $124.94.
Gold stocks were firmer, with Newcrest Mining rising +3.06% to $28.33, Northern Star Resources rose +4.45% to $11.50, and Evolution Mining Ltd ended up +2.83% to $5.08.
Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths were weaker as Coles fell -0.12% to $16.67, while its rival Woolworths lost -0.12% to $42.91.
E-commerce group Kogan rose +1.89% and settled at $10.78, while Seek rose +1.32% to $31.46.
Meanwhile, JB Hi-Fi lost -1.16% to $47.61, while Telstra rose +0.28% to $3.58, while Wesfarmers rose +0.71%, to $55.00, Aristocrat Leisure lost +0.54%, to $40.70 and QBE Insurance fell -1.31% to $11.32.
Biotechnology giant CSL rose +0.48% to $296.64, while ResMed rose +0.85% to $28.37, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare added +1.8%, to $27.77, and Cochlear rose +0.29%, to $235.32.
Travel stocks were weaker, with Sydney Airport fell -0.17%, to $6.04, Corporate Travel Management lost -1.01%, to $20.58, Flight Centre lost -0.07%, to $15.26, and Webjet rose +0.4% to $5.07.
Meanwhile, our local currency, the Australian dollar, is currently buying US$0.7700 (as of writing).