• The ASX fell modestly on Wednesday after banks traded ex-dividends
  • Healthcare stocks rallied after the Budget
  • Focus now shifts to the US inflation report tonight


The ASX fell 0.25% on Wednesday, dragged down by ex-dividend banking stocks.

Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ) slid as much as 5% before paring losses to just -1% as it trades ex-dividend.

National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) also had similar moves as it traded ex-dividend today.

Uranium producer Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN) was one of the best performing stocks, up 7% on no specific news.

Healthcare was the best performing sector after the Budget announcement that included a $3.5bn funding for healthcare and$12.4 billion investment into the aged care sector.

Sector leader CSL (ASX:CSL) jumped by 1.5%.


Crucial CPI report awaits

Shares in Asia mainly dropped ahead of the US CPI report tonight, with traders preferring to keep themselves firmly in wait-and-see mode.

The April US inflation report is expected to remind everyone that inflation is staying sticky. According to consensus, the CPI index will climb 0.4% in April after gaining 0.1% in March.

“The Fed won’t be raising rates on a hot report, but it will justify calls that rates will stay higher for longer,” said Oanda analyst, Edward Moya.

Beyond the inflation data, US default risks and banking wobbles loom as the next likely focus.

President Biden will meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy along with congressional leaders today at the White House to discuss the debt ceiling.

The US economy is inching toward a default if a deadlock over raising the US$31.4tn US debt limit could not be broken.

“No one is expecting any meaningful progress with this meeting” said Moya.



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Green metals stocks like Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) and Lynas (ASX:LYC) had gains of around 2% on no specific news.



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Building products company CSR (ASX:CSR) fell 3% after delivering a 17% increase in net profit after tax of $225 million for the full year. The company declared a final dividend of 20 cents per share fully franked.

Looking ahead, CSR says activity in the apartment market is improving as more projects have commenced this year, while non-residential activity remains strong, supported by a large pipeline of approvals.