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ASX tops record, inflation data looms

·4-min read

A record high for the Australian share market did not lead to big gains for investors, who remain wary of inflation data due in China and the US.

The ASX200 notched its record of 7315.6 points early in trade as it continues in unchartered territory.

The index has regularly reset records since May 31 when it climbed higher than pre-pandemic levels.

On Tuesday, information technology shares fared best, higher by 1.45 per cent.

Next best were shares in healthcare, up 0.82 per cent.

The major category of materials shares dropped 0.39 per cent.

Financials, also a major category, were little changed.

The ASX200 closed higher by just 10.7 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 7292.6.

The All Ordinaries closed up 10.7 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 7542.3.

Burman Invest chief investment officer Julia Lee said inflation data due this week was one likely reason for modest gains.

"No doubt inflation is at the forefront of investors' minds," she said.

"This week is a big gauge."

China will publish consumer and producer inflation data in the next 24 hours, with US data due about one day later.

The figures should show whether prices are surging as major economies recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Soaring prices and inflation can erode the value of investments.

Ms Lee said the China data would show how rising commodity prices were affecting Chinese producers.

Chinese steel-makers recently pushed iron ore prices to a record of about $US250 per tonne.

She added that the US inflation data would set interest rate expectations.

Soaring inflation could prompt the Federal Reserve to fast-track a rate rise and calm the economy.

Earlier, there were modest moves on US markets.

The Nasdaq had the biggest move, and was the only index higher, up by 0.49 per cent.

In Australia, Victorian leaders said they expect to ease coronavirus restrictions across the state this week.

Two infections were reported as Melburnians endure a second week of lockdown.

Business leaders reported great trading conditions in May, according to a regular survey.

The NAB business conditions index reached a new high for a second consecutive month.

NAB chief economist Alan Oster said this should mean more people getting jobs.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's upgraded its outlook on the credit worthiness of Australian banks.

The agency improved the ratings from negative to stable.

This included the big four and Macquarie Bank.

On the ASX, NAB and Westpac were first to relay the news and closed higher by less than half a per cent.

ANZ and the Commonwealth closed lower by the same measure.

Fibre network provider Superloop is buying Australia's biggest privately-held internet service provider Exetel for $110 million.

Superloop is raising $100 million through a share sale to help fund the purchase.

The remaining $10 million will come from giving new shares to Exetel owners.

The company asked for trading of its shares to be paused prior to the news.

They last traded for $1.04.

Boral will on Thursday further respond to Seven Group's takeover offer.

Seven, which owns 20 per cent of Boral, in May offered $6.50 for each share it does not own.

Boral rejected the offer.

Shares in the building materials supplier were down 1.01 per cent to $6.85.

In mining, BHP, Fortescue and Rio Tinto all lost about one per cent.

The Australian dollar was buying 77.40 US cents at 1730 AEST, higher from 77.34 US cents at Monday's close.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 10.7 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 7292.6 on Tuesday.

* The All Ordinaries was up by 10.7 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 7542.3.

* At 1730 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was trading higher by one point, or 0.01 per cent, to 7305.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 77.40 US cents, from 77.34 cents on Monday

* 84.76 Japanese yen, from 84.77 yen

* 63.61 Euro cents, from 63.66 cents

* 54.75 British pence, from 54.75 pence

* 107.37 NZ cents, from 107.43 cents.

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