ASX’s best week since nine after flat Friday

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The Australian stock market has had its best week in nine years after hitting post-pandemic highs, but a market analyst warns that inflation fears may become a reality in the data next week.

The benchmark index S & P / ASX200 closed on Friday after a good lead in the US markets by 3.6 points or 0.05 percent to 6995.2.

The All Ordinaries closed two points, or 0.03 percent, higher to 7252.3 points.

The market was in the red for most of the session, but investors recovered late.

In a trading week shortened to Easter, the ASX200 gained 2.44 percent.

On Thursday, the index briefly rose to over 7,000 points and then closed at 6998.8, its highest level since the coronavirus crash.

The milestone came in a week when Australian and US central banks reiterated their messages that they would be patient before hike rates even as their economies recover from the coronavirus.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signaled at an International Monetary Fund event that the central bank is not close to scaling back support to the economy.

He said that while the economic recovery could temporarily lead to higher prices, it would not represent inflation.

However, Mathan Somasundaram, CEO of Deep Data Analytics, believed that Friday’s inflation numbers from China could follow similar moves in the US.

Chinese consumer prices rose 0.4 percent in March year over year. That exceeded expectations with a plus of 0.3 percent.

“If the Chinese face inflationary pressures despite a strong currency, I think we will see decent moves in the US inflation outlook,” Somasundaram said.

US inflation data is expected next week.

Meanwhile, despite orders for 20 million more doses of Pfizer, vaccinating Australians against the virus may take until next year.

Top health officials have recommended that the AstraZeneca vaccine should not be given to anyone under the age of 50 due to a rare but serious side effect of blood clots.

This means the vaccine program is unlikely to be completed before 2022, well after the Morrison administration’s goal in October.

The market heavyweight CSL, which makes the AstraZeneca vaccine, fell 0.96 percent to $ 263.40.

Travel stocks collapsed. Corporate travel management declined 2.95 percent to $ 18.77. Webjet slipped 2.53 percent to $ 5.40.

Air New Zealand has postponed the deadline for raising capital to September 30th.

The airline should raise funds by June 30, but corporate leaders want more time to consider vaccinations and travel arrangements with Australia.

Meanwhile, the airline has revised its loan from the New Zealand government and will raise an additional $ 600 million. The total loan is $ 1.5 billion.

The shares rose 2.11 percent to $ 1.69.

In banking, Westpac was the best of the big four, climbing 0.2 percent to $ 25.21.

In mining, BHP, Fortescue and Rio Tinto each lost less than one percent.

Oil and gas producer Strike Energy rose 9.86 percent to 39 cents after it said progress continued on its proposed fertilizer plant near Geraldton, Western Australia.

A consultant will revise the cost of capital estimate of $ 1.74 billion.

Strike aims to provide fertilizer to the agricultural industry.

March employment figures will be published on Thursday next week. March was the last month of the JobKeeper wage subsidy, so there will be no impact on the numbers once it expires.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.8 percent in February.

The Bank of Queensland will also announce its results for the first half of the year on Thursday.

The Australian dollar bought 76.00 US cents at 1716 AEST, down from 76.35 US cents at Thursday’s close.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark index S & P / ASX200 closed 3.6 points, or 0.05 percent, to 6995.2 on Friday.

* The All Ordinaries closed two points, or 0.03 percent, higher to 7252.3 points.

* At 1716 AEST, the SPI200 Futures Index rose one point, or 0.01 percent, to 6975 points.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

An Australian dollar buys:

* 76.00 US cents, down from 76.35 cents on Wednesdays

* 83.21 Japanese yen, down from 83.73 yen

* 63.89 cents, from 64.32 cents

* 55.54 pence, from 55.50 pence

* 108.31 NZ cents, from 108.60 cents.


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