• ASX ended the week on a high note, up by over 1%
  • Australian retail spend is at record levels again
  • Appen lost 23% as takeover suitor walks away

ASX rises, retail spend at record levels

Australian shares finished the week on a high note, with the ASX 200 climbing by over 1% today. For the week, the index was up 0.5%.

The sentiment was positive across all major Asian bourses today, as they tracked a broad-based rally on Wall Street overnight.

The Aussie dollar is also surging, and is currently trading at US71.4c, the same level it reached in early May.

On the ASX, retail stocks overperformed today as Australian retailers recorded the fourth consecutive month of sales gains.

According to data from the ABS, a record $33.92 billion was spent in stores and online during April.

Food sales had the largest rise, up 1.9%, as cafes and restaurants gained from increased household spending over the April holiday period.

“The Aussie consumer remains in fine voice,” CBA chief economist Craig James said.

“People are getting out and about again, especially frequenting cafes and restaurants.”

The upbeat data came as US department story Macy’s upgraded its profit outlook overnight, sending its share price 18% higher.

Meanwhile the energy sector also rose by 2% today following a 3% jump in oil prices overnight.

The benchmark Brent crude, now trading at US$117.50 a barrel, has been volatile since President Biden announced that he was considering limits to US oil exports to curtail high fuel prices at home.

“The last thing the world needs right now is US crude oil export restrictions with global supplies already tight,” said Oanda market analyst Jeff Halley.

BIG CAP WINNERS

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Firefinch (ASX:FFX) and Block Inc (ASX:SQ2) were the two best performing large caps today, up by 8% and 6% respectively on no news.

Transport services provider Kelsian Group (ASX:KLS) rose 1% after entering a deal to sell its East London bus operations to Stagecoach Bus Holdings.

The total consideration is £20 million (approximately $35 million).

BIG CAP LOSERS

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After surging 29% yesterday, Appen (ASX:APX) came back down to earth and lost 22% after announcing that its potential suitor Telus had abruptly pulled out.

At the AGM meeting today, Appen said it was blindsided by Telus’ decision.