Market wrap: ASX falls in May 28, 2024 trading day

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The Australian stock market slipped lower on Tuesday on a placid trading day as investors waited for Wall Street to come back to life after the Memorial Day holiday.

The benchmark ASX 200 slipped 21.6 points, or 0.28 per cent, to close at 7,766.7, while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 23.7 points, or 0.29 per cent, to finish at 8,034.9.

Technology stocks fell 19.5 points, or 0.63%, to close at 3,056.5 points.

Ten of 11 industry sectors closed in the red, led by industrials with a 1% decline.

Discretionary stocks fell 0.68% on the back of weak retail sales data from the ABS, which showed turnover rose 0.1% in April.

“Underlying retail spending continues to be weak, with a small increase in turnover in April, not enough to offset the decline in March,” said Ben Dorber, head of retail statistics at the ABS.

“Since early 2024, trend retail revenue has remained stable as cautious consumers reduce their discretionary spending.”

JB Hi-Fi fell 0.72% to $57.60 per share, while Kogan fell 0.65% to $4.59.

But overall, the report provided some comfort to the market, said Karen Jorritsma, head of equities at RBC Capital Markets, with the lower-than-expected figure further easing fears of a Reserve Bank hike.

“The number was 0.1 and the market was looking for 0.2, so I think that’s probably the positive thing that gave the market some comfort,” he said.

“Volatility is quite low, we are not seeing an unstable market.

“If you look at how the market did this morning, after 11.30am it rallied a little bit and then it just faded away into the afternoon, which Australia notoriously likes to do.”

Wall Street was closed overnight for Memorial Day, leading to “directionless” trading on the ASX, Jorritsma added.

“We are seeing directionless trading with a lack of edge from offshore. You have no North American markets.

Big miners fell after iron ore prices fell below $120 per tonne overnight.

BHP fell 0.16% to $45.08 and Rio Tinto fell 0.05% to close at $131.62. Fortescue closed flat at $26.51.

Big banks had mixed results ahead of Wednesday’s inflation data, with the Commonwealth Bank rising 0.17% to $120.31, ANZ rising 0.49% to $28.57 and NAB rose 0.15% to $34.28, while Westpac fell 0.41% to $26.64.

In corporate news, healthcare imaging company Pro Medicus rose 0.89% to $114.25 per share after announcing it had secured five U.S. contracts worth at least $45 million.

Uranium miner Boss Energy slumped 11.14% to $4.74 after some of the news company’s insiders, including Chief Executive Duncan Craib and Chairman Wyatt Buck, sold some of their actions.

The biggest gainer on the ASX was titanium company Iperionx, which jumped 10.5 per cent to $2.42 per share.

The biggest laggard was Peter Warren Automotive, which fell 12.6% to $1.87 after posting a trading update that forecast a full-year profit drop of between $52 million and $57 million.

The company attributed increased competition in the auto dealership industry and reduced gross profit margins on new cars, a decline in consumer demand for new cars due to cost-of-living pressures, and an increase in interest costs for the expected decline in profits.

The Australian dollar gained 0.18% against the greenback, buying 66.6 cents at the close.

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