• ASX 200 notched up sixth day of gains
  • Retailers, tech were best performing sectors
  • Fed Budget to be delivered at 7.30pm AEDT tonight

Retailers, Tech lead the way

Local shares head into tonight’s Federal Budget in flying colours after closing 0.76% higher, the sixth day in a row ASX 200 index has made gains.

Strong trade figures lifted retail stocks, with the Consumer Discretionary index rising by over 2% and Staples by 1%.

In the month of February, retail sales rose 1.8% as NSW, Qld and SA shopped their way to the second highest ever sales on record at $33 billion.

But heading into the Budget, consumer confidence as surveyed by ANZ/Roy Morgan edged to an 18-month low despite the expected $250 one-off government payment for low to middle income earners.

Tonight’s 2022/23 Budget is expected to see $120bn of funds allocated to sectors such as defence, infrastructure and technology research. JP Morgan expects a budget deficit of $80 billion.

Tech meanwhile was the best performing sector today, up by 3%, following retreat in long term Treasury yields overnight. Afterpay parent Block Inc (ASX:SQ2) led the index surge with a 7% gain.

Elsewhere, energy stocks retreated as oil prices plunged 10% overnight. Traders are keeping a close eye on China’s latest lockdown to combat rising Covid-19 cases, along with fresh concerns over the country’s property sector.

 

BIG CAP WINNERS

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Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) was the best performing large cap after teeing up a non-binding MoU with Japan-based trading company Hanwa Co to negotiate for up to 25,000tpa offtake of lithium carbonate over 10 years from its Kachi project in Argentina.

Hanwa will also co-ordinate a strategic partnership between the two companies to jointly develop a downstream supply chain.

ioneer (ASX:INR) has completed its MoU with NexTech Batteries, a global producer of lithium-sulphur battery technology based in Nevada.

ioneer aims to produce upwards of 22,000 tonnes of lithium materials per year in nearby Esmeralda County. The two parties also intend to discuss the potential for long-term supply to NexTech once production has commenced.

Telix Pharma (ASX:TLX) rose 7% after signing an agreement with Xiel for the distribution of Telix’s prostate cancer investigational imaging product, Illuccix, in the UK and Ireland.

Under the terms, Xiel will be the exclusive commercial distributor of Illuccix in both countries for a period of three years, replacing Telix’s previous agreement with Curium.

National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) has been rising and is at a fresh 4-year high of $32.10 since announcing a further $2.5bn share buy-back a week ago.

BIG CAP LOSERS

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