• The ASX rebounded in the afternoon and finished flattish
  • Bank stocks dragged down the bourse as NAB’s half year underwhelmed
  • China’s data shows sluggish factory activities


The ASX traded in negative territory throughout the day, but climbed back in the afternoon to finish flattish.

Gains in Real Estate, Mining and Tech sectors were offset by losses in Financials, driven by a 6% plunge in National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB).

NAB tumbled after releasing its half year results where cash earnings rose 17% to $4.07 billion and an interim dividend declaration of 82c. Both metrics fell short of estimates.

NAB CEO Ross McEwan sounded a warning on what lies ahead.

“The impact of higher living and interest costs on household spending and the broader economy is becoming more evident, and we have a range of options available for customers needing support,” he said.

Other big banks also fell around 3% following NAB’s update.

Meanwhile, gold hit a record high is Aussie dollar terms, and oil stocks mainly climbed despite another 5% plunge in crude oil prices overnight.

At US$68.98 a barrel, WTI is now trading at the lowest level since 2021 after a chaotic opening in the Asian this morning.

“Sentiment is likely to remain bearish in the oil market,” said ANZ Bank analysts in a note.


China’s recovery put into question

Meanwhile, new data today shows that Chinese factories unexpectedly struggled in April, with the Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers index dropping to 49.5 versus 50 in March.

The reading echoes a similarly disappointing PMI data released on Sunday, adding to concerns that China’s economic recovery has significantly slowed since reopening.

There were more concerns as China’s military reportedly flew a drone circling around Taiwan earlier today, the second time it has done so in a week. Taiwan said it was monitoring the drone situation closely.

But despite the Fed’s 25bp rate hike and Chairman Powell’s bearish commentary around a ‘mild recession’, Asian stock markets have mostly climbed today.

Traders are anxiously awaiting the European Central Bank’s rates decision later today (EU time).

The ECB has a tougher battle with inflation than other developed regions, and market players are debating whether the central bank will raise by 25bp or 50bp tonight.



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Magellan Financial (ASX:MFG) rose 3.5% despite funds under management (FUM) falling from $43.2 bn in March to $42.7 bn in April.

Retail outflows amounted to $0.4 billion, and net institutional outflows were $2.0 billion.



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