The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: XJO) is tipped to open lower this morning according to the Sydney Futures Exchange. Here’s what’s making headlines.
ASX 200 recap
The ASX 200 recovered strongly on Wednesday, bouncing 2.4% higher with just 17 shares finishing lower. The industrial sector led the market higher, rising 4% behind a strong recovery in Transurban Group (ASX: TCL) and Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (ASX: SYD), as cases continued to fall in Victoria and border restrictions are loosened.
Service Stream Limited (ASX: SSM) was the standout, the NBN installer finishing 14.0% higher after NBN Co announced it would be offering a fibre-to-the-home service for up to two million Australian households as part of a $3.5 billion upgrade.
The depth of the Victorian lockdowns was reflected in August retail sales, which fell 4.2% month-on-month, but more than 12% in Victoria. This was still 4.9% higher than 2019, showing the sharp recovery once conditions return to normal. Adventure retailer Kathmandu Holdings Ltd (ASX: KMD) fell 8.5% on the news, announcing an 85% fall in profit for the financial year to just $8.9 million.
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Keating calls out the RBA, Tesla’s Battery Day disappoints
Paul Keating delivered an extraordinary and much-needed rebuke to the perceived lack of action from the RBA, calling out the Board’s ‘indolence’ on the issue. He continued suggesting the central bank should be explicitly supporting the government, so the country does not experience a massive fall in unemployment.
Instead of directly funding Government stimulus, the RBA is buying bonds from the banking sector to keep rates artificially low. It’s clear fiscal stimulus is needed and the cost of a job saved today is far higher than an extended period of unemployment. It’s difficult not to agree with the sentiment, given the pain experienced in Australia, and await what is expected to be an expansive Federal Budget in October.
Elsewhere, Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) economist Bill Evans forecast the RBA will cut interest rates to just 0.1% in October, while the AUD has fallen to $0.71 during the week.
Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) remains under selling pressure, falling 10.4% overnight after announcing its $25,000 car would not be available for at least another three years and flagging issues with the stubbornly high cost of batteries.
Nasdaq tumbles 3%, Nike impresses
The sell-off continues in the US, with the Nasdaq down over 3% on the back of weakness in Tesla, and the S&P 500 similarly falling 2.4%.
It has become clear that a second round of stimulus measures is unlikely to be forthcoming, the Republicans and Democrats at an impasse to the detriment of the US population. This despite the Federal Reserve continuing to stress the importance of more economic support.
With COVID-19 cases spiking globally again, Johnson and Johnson’s (NYSE: JNJ) announcement of a drug trial with 60,000 people didn’t capture the excitement of markets. Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) showed its resilience, surging 13%, after announcing an 11% increase in profit in the quarter to US$1.5 billion, pushed higher by online sales and its Chinese expansion.
European markets bucked the trend, finishing 0.5% higher, as both Adidas (DE: ADSGn) and Puma (DE: PUMA) rallied by over 4% on Nike’s strong performance.