• ASX falls for the first time this week
  • Real Estate and Tech were the main laggards
  • Australia retail sales higher than expected in May

The benchmark ASX 200 index fell for the first time this week, succumbing to sentiment in global equity markets.

The local index fell by 0.60% on Wednesday as Tech and Real Estate sectors weighed heavily on the broader market.

Real estate stocks fell as a number of REITs went ex-dividend today.

Charter Hall Long WALE REIT (ASX: CLW) and National Storage REIT (ASX: NSR) were among them, falling by around 6% each.

Investors in other rates sensitive sectors like Tech will also be closely watching the European Central Bank (ECB) forum later tonight, where Fed’s Powell, ECB’s Lagarde, and BOE’s Bailey are all expected to speak.

Meanwhile, better than expected retails sales figures weren’t enough to lift the Discretionary sector into positive territory today.

According to the ABS, Australian retail sales rose by a better-than-expected 0.9% in May (from April), and have surged by 10% since May 2021.

The question is, did sales numbers only go up because of higher prices?

“Price inflation will have made a sizeable contribution to the increase in retail sales in the month, in particular for food sales and spending at cafes and restaurants,” said BIS Oxford Economics’ Sean Langcake.

Later tonight, US GDP numbers for the March quarter will be top of headlines, and a miss could adversely affect the markets.
 

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Lithium miner Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) rose 5% after approving the 500,000tpa Kathleen Valley mine in WA (first production Q2 2024).
 

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Imuegene (ASX:IMU) lost 14% on no news. The company did announce on Monday positive results from its Phase 2 study of HER-Vaxx following the analysis of safety and efficacy data.

CarSales (ASX:CAR) dropped 11% after a cap raise of around $1.207 billion as it looks to expand into the US markets.