Australian shares struggle for direction ahead of U.S. Fed Powell’s Testimony

June 22, 2022 - 2 weeks ago
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The local share market exercised caution on Wednesday and avoided getting caught on the wrong side of the trade as most of the session struggled for direction and eventually ended (what appeared to be) a dead-cat bounce after the morning rally fizzled out quickly.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index slipped -15.3 points, or -0.24%, at 6,508.5, while the All Ordinaries lost -18.5 points, or -0.28%, to 6,682.3, while our local currency, the Australian dollar, is currently buying US$0.6906.

Renewed recession fears weighed on investors ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell’s Senate testimony this Wednesday and Friday.

Although it is unclear if U.S. Fed Powell will break new ground from last week’s rate hike; however, his testimony will be crucial after inflation fears triggered the central bank to raise its benchmark borrowing rate by 0.75 percentage points, from 1.00% to 1.75%.

Investors are now considering another such mega-hike at its next meeting in July.

However, U.S. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said increases of three-quarters of a percentage point would not be common.

Meanwhile, titans, Rio Tinto added +0.6% to $104.50 while BHP and Fortescue both gained +0.2% to $41.03 and $17.62, respectively, while in the energy sector, Woodside gained +2% to $31.97.

In financials, all the “Fab Four” banks were down as speculation that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) would hike rates by another 50 basis points at its July meeting.

Westpac slid -0.9% to $19.53, ANZ tumbled -0.6% to $21.83, NAB lost -0.2% to $26.99 and CBA dropped -0.1% to $89.57.

In other shares, buy now, pay later company Zip Co dropped -11.4% to $0.465, from an all-time high of more than $14 last year.

Meanwhile, Crown was flat at $13.09 despite getting the green light to open its casino operations in its luxury skyscraper at Barangaroo.

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