ASX gains, RBA holds record low interest rates: Aus shares closes 0.1% higher

The Australian sharemarket eked out a 0.02 per cent or 2 points gain at 7,530 after trading most of the day in the red. The local bourse started to recover after the RBA board kept interest rates at 0.1 per cent while maintaining plans to taper, however the mixed message saw the ASX 200 close fractionally in the green.

Miners and banks continued to weigh on the index while health, consumer discretionary, energy and communication stocks were higher. CSL Healthcare (ASX:CSL) closed 1.5 per cent higher with ear specialist Cochlear (ASX:COH) closing 2 per cent higher. Meanwhile Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) closed 1.6 per cent lower after trading ex-dividend today.

Gambling giants Aristocrat (ASX:ALL) and Tabcorp (ASX:TAH) closed 1.7 per cent higher and 0.8 per cent higher. Online job searcher Seek (ASX:SEK) closed 3.3 per cent higher, while Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) closed 6.2 per cent higher. 

Looking at banks, Westpac (ASX:WBC) closed 0.07 per cent higher while the others closed lower with NAB closing the worst, down 0.7 per cent. 

Mining giant BHP (ASX:BHP) closed 0.6 per cent lower, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed 1.8 per cent lower and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) closed 2.9 per cent. 

NSW recorded another 1220 new Covid-19 cases, while vaccination rates continue to rise. Victoria recorded 246 new cases and Queensland recorded 0 cases.

Local economic news 

The Reserve Bank of Australia has kept the cash rate at 0.1 per cent and will continue with plans to begin reducing its bond buying stimulus to $4 billion a week despite the lockdowns, but it has delayed considering any further tapering until next year.

Consumer confidence fell slightly by 1.8 points to 100.0 this week with sentiment now evenly balanced between positive and negative sentiment, however consumer confidence is well below the 2021 weekly average of 108.9 according to ANZ-Roy Morgan.

Consumer Confidence fell this week in both Victoria and NSW and is now clearly below the neutral level of 100 in both States and both Sydney and Melbourne. Elsewhere, South Australia and Queensland is just above 100 while it is significantly higher in Western Australia at over 110.

This week’s decrease in consumer confidence was driven by the declines in NSW and Victoria as well as small falls in views towards people’s personal financial situations and whether now is a “good/bad time to buy major household items”.

A stand-out in this week’s release is the jump in inflation expectations to its highest level in almost three years. ANZ Head of Australian economics said, “The weekly reading can be volatile so we need to be a bit cautious about overplaying the move, but if sustained it will cement the sharpest jump in inflation expectations since we moved to collecting the data on a weekly basis.”

Company news

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NZ electricity company Contact Energy (ASX:CEN), promoted chief information officer Iain Gauld and chief digital officer Tighe Wall to its leadership team.

Centuria Office’s (ASX:COF) responsible entity Centuria Property Funds, completed the institutional component of the 1 for 6.4 institutional entitlement offer announced yesterday.

SkyCity Entertainment (ASX:SKC) plans to reopen its casino and entertainment facilities from tomorrow in Hamilton and Queenstown, New Zealand after being force to shut down due to Covid-19.

IPO

Midas Minerals Ltd (ASX:MM1) listed on the ASX today at issue price of $0.20. The stock opened at $0.25 and closed at $0.19. 

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