• ASX 200 closed lower by 0.2%
  • Coal stocks rose after BHP announcement
  • Link in hot water after the ACCC throws its weight on merger deal

 

Aussie blue chips mostly traded sideways today, with the ASX 200 index finally ending the day down by 0.20%.

Real Estate and Telco sectors led, while Industrials and Staples lagged.

Global markets saw mixed results after the US Fed hiked its cash rate by 75bp overnight, the highest increase since 1994.

Wall Street and European markets were mainly up after the announcement, but today some of the major bourses in Asia fell – with HangSeng and Singapore STI both dropping by 1%.

The release of the Australian unemployment rate failed to provide any direction for the local market.

According to the ABS, Australia’s unemployment rate remained at 3.9% (same as in April), despite 61,000 new people entering the workforce.

Barrenjoey chief economist Jo Masters told The Australian that the strong jobs numbers are “a catch-22 for the RBA”.

“On one hand, the solid result will put more upward pressure on inflation and wages growth.

“On the other hand, a record low unemployment rate, strong employment growth, record employment population ratio and building momentum in wages growth will be an important support for consumers over the challenging period ahead,” Masters said.

Later tonight, the Bank of England is expected to deliver its fifth straight rate hike to combat spiralling inflation in the UK.

 

BIG CAP WINNERS

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Lithium play Ioneer (ASX:INR) was the best performing large cap today, up by 13% on no news.

Coal stocks Stanmore Resources (ASX:SMR) jumped 11% and Whitehaven (ASX:WHC) rose 4% after news that BHP (ASX:BHP) will cancel its planned sale of NSW’s largest thermal coal mine after failing to find a buyer and in response to pressure from green investors and ESG groups.

Instead BHP will run the Mount Arthur operation in the Hunter Valley down, but has requested an extension on its planned end date from 2026 to 2030 when the mine will shut and BHP will assume its environmental liabilities.

 

BIG CAP LOSERS

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Link Administration (ASX:LNK) crashed 10% today after the competition watchdog ACCC said Link’s $3.5bn takeover by Dye & Durham may “enable D&D and Link to engage in mutual preferential dealing that would hinder existing competition, or raise barriers to entry in one or more markets in the conveyancing workflow”,  the ACCC said.