Lending Association

ASX down 0.16%: retail sales grow by 1.1% in January

In January, retail sales increased by 1.1%, falling short of the expected 1.5% growth, indicating volatility in spending patterns. Despite a rise to $35.7 billion in sales, the year-on-year increase was only 1.1%, reflecting weak performance relative to the country’s rapid population expansion.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin achieved a record high in Australian dollars, hitting $97,000 on Thursday on BTC Markets amid concerns over the US fiscal situation and significant inflows into exchange-traded funds. BTC Markets and Independent Reserve are the dominant order book exchanges in Australia, with smaller competitors utilizing external order books from international market makers. This milestone represents a significant achievement for the BTC/AUD pair, surpassing levels last seen during the peak of the bull market in November 2021. Despite this, Australian investors are benefiting more than those invested in US dollars due to the Australian dollar’s 10% appreciation against the US dollar since November 2021.

At 11:30am, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.16 per cent lower at 7,648.30.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 12 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is REITs, up 0.77 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Materials, down 0.58 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Ramsay Health Care (ASX:RHC), trading 6.33 per cent higher at $54.43. It is followed by shares in Worley (ASX:WOR) and Harvey Norman Holdings (ASX:HVN).

The worst-performing large cap is ResMed (ASX:RMD), trading 4.15 per cent lower at $26.77. It is followed by shares in IGO (ASX:IGO) and Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$2043.50 an ounce.

Iron ore is 1.1 per cent lower at US$116.90 a tonne.

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 1.5 per cent fall.

One Australian dollar is buying 64.92 US cents.