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Aust shares up despite offshore rate rises

·4-min read

Investors have cautiously advanced the ASX after Korea became the second nation in two days to try and ward off inflation by raising rates.

Information technology shares were the biggest improvers on Thursday ahead of a US market holiday for Thanksgiving.

Afterpay jumped by a little more than four per cent to $111.74.

Materials was the next best category and offset losses by the banks.

Investors showed little reaction to Korea raising rates by 0.25 per cent to try and stymie pandemic inflation. A day earlier, New Zealand used the same measure.

Deep Data Analytics chief executive Mathan Somasundaram said the latest hike added to momentum for central banks to act.

He cited overnight data which showed US consumer spending outstripped expectations in October and weekly jobless claims fell.

"All of this points to inflation moving higher and puts pressure on rates being raised," Mr Somasundaram said.

However, he expected central banks would be reluctant to do so.

Homeowners have amassed plenty of debt by taking advantage of low rates.

"If you put interest rates up, it makes it harder for people to afford houses," Mr Somasundaram said.

"I don't think the central banks want to put up rates.

"They will wait for inflation to do what it does - kill off growth."

Investors have been conservative towards the ASX this week. The market is up only 0.15 per cent since Monday.

In the latest trading day, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 7.9 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 7407.3 points.

The All Ordinaries closed higher by 11.4 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 7736.9 points.

EML Payments shares surged 31 per cent after better news on a money-laundering probe into its Irish subsidiary.

Ireland's central bank will allow the subsidiary to sign new customers and not impose onerous restrictions.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission cleared NAB's purchase of Citigroup's consumer business.

The bank will gain a substantial credit card business after the regulator found there was plenty of competition.

NAB shares fared best of the big four banks and lost about half a per cent. The Commonwealth was worst and dropped 1.45 per cent.

Fortescue Metals continued a ripping week and was higher by 1.76 per cent.

Shares in the iron ore exporter have gained more than 14 per cent this week on signs an economic stimulus is likely for its biggest market, China.

The more diversified miners, BHP and Rio Tinto, each rose by one per cent or more.

Fisher and Paykel Healthcare will invest about $668 million in property in the next five years to ensure ample manufacturing and other sites for growth.

First-half net profit after tax dropped two per cent for the six months to September.

Shares were up 4.6 per cent to $32.30.

Adairs was up 4.09 per cent to $3.56 after it bought retailer Focus on Furniture for $80 million.

Focus on Furniture had sales of more than $150 million last financial year and trades in Australia and New Zealand.

Ampol shares were down 1.31 per cent to $30.24 after it announced the sale of 20 petrol stations to an unlisted property trust for $48 million.

Ampol will have a 51 per cent stake in the trust and Charter Hall will have 49 per cent.

The energy provider also intends to issue subordinated notes in the wholesale fixed income market to help fund the purchase of Z Energy.

BCI Minerals rose more than 15 per cent to 52 cents after the Western Australian government approved its Mardie Salt and Potash project.

The Australian dollar was buying 72.05 US cents at 1725 AEDT, slightly lower from 72.10 US cents at Wednesday's close.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 7.9 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 7407.3 points on Thursday.

* The All Ordinaries closed higher by 11.4 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 7736.9 points.

* At 1725 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down one point, or 0.01 per cent, at 7406 points.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 72.05 US cents, from 72.10 cents on Wednesday

* 83.13 Japanese yen, from 83.02 yen

* 64.25 Euro cents, from 64.22 cents

* 53.97 British pence, from 53.96 pence

* 104.86 NZ cents, from 104.40 cents.

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