• ASX 200 closed 0.53% lower today
  • AI stock Appen jumped 29% on takeover play
  • China’s economics boss sounds warning

 

Local blue chips lost early gains and finished the day in the red, with the ASX 200 index closing half a percent lower today.

Investors reacted negatively to weak data coming out of the ABS, which reported that Australia’s Q1 capital expenditure has fallen by 0.3% vs a consensus of 1.5% increase.

It’s a huge miss that points to the current weakness in the private sector, which will also have implications for the GDP data due out next week.

Every sector on the ASX fell except for Tech which gained 1%, buoyed by a 1.5% rise in Nasdaq overnight.

There was relief for US investors as the Fed’s meeting minutes revealed a hike path plan which is less hawkish and more consistent with the market’s expectations.

The minutes showed that Fed officials agreed to hike rates by 50bp over the next two months, a scenario which experts said could engineer a softer landing for the economy.

“Most participants judged that 50 basis-point increases in the target range would likely be appropriate at the next couple of meetings,” the minutes read.

Meanwhile, China’s economics boss and Premier Li Keqiang has sounded a warning about the world’s second largest economy.

“In some ways, the challenges now are greater than when the pandemic hit hard in 2020″, Li told a State Council meeting.

Major research houses like UBS and JP Morgan have downgraded China’s growth rate to as low as 3%, which if accurate, could see the US’s growth outstrip China for the first time since 1976.

 

BIG CAP WINNERS

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Appen (ASX:APX) was up 29% before putting itself on a trading halt. The artificial intelligence (AI) training data services company received a takeover offer from Telus at $9.50, a huge 48% premium to Appen’s $6.40 closing price on Wednesday.

 

BIG CAP LOSERS

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New Hope (ASX:NHC) was down 7% despite reporting a solid quarter. The coal miner’s underlying quarterly EBITDA was $358.6m, following a rise in coal prices. However, the company’s guidance for FY22 was 9.46m coal, a mere 4% lift from the pcp.