The Australian share market limped to the finish line on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said a recession is possible as the U.S. central bank raises interest rates to cool surging inflation.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose +19.9 points, or +0.31%, at 6,528.4, while the All Ordinaries added +9.1 points, or +0.14%, to 6,691.4, while our local currency, the Australian dollar, is currently buying US$0.6888.
Jerome Powell, the U.S. Federal Reserve Chair, said that the central bank was firmly committed to bringing inflation down and added that the pace of tightening would depend on incoming data, alongside the U.S. economic outlook.
Fed Powell also acknowledged that Fed actions could tip the U.S. into a recession.
Last week, the Fed raised its benchmark rate by three-quarters of a percentage point, three times its usual margin and the biggest increase in nearly three decades.
Powell will testify again in Washington DC on Thursday (Friday, 12 am Sydney time).
Meanwhile, nine out of eleven sectors were in the green except mining and energy.
In financials, all of the “Fab Four” banks finished higher after recovering some losses they suffered following the RBA’s rate rise.
ANZ added +1.1% to $22.07, while the Commonwealth Bank added +0.2% to $89.75, NAB rose +0.5% to $27.13 and Westpac rose +0.5% to $19.62.
West Texas Intermediate sunk below US$103 a barrel Thursday, with Woodside Energy dropping -2.6% to $31.14.
Meanwhile, the materials sector has struggled, after plummeting by -7.4% over five days, with Fortescue Metals sliding by -2.1% to $17.25, Rio Tinto fell by -1.8% to $102.63, and BHP lost -1.3% to $40.50.