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Updated January 8th, 2024 at 07:34 IST

Australian shares tread water as investors await November inflation data

S&P/ASX 200 index remained flat at 7,491.40, following its worst week since mid-October last week.

Business Desk
ASX
Australian shares | Image:ASX
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Australian shares flat: Australian shares struggled to gain momentum on Monday as investors awaited key indicators for insights into the global monetary policy trajectory. The S&P/ASX 200 index remained flat at 7,491.40, following its worst week since mid-October last week.

The focus of investors shifted to the uncertain path of global monetary policy, especially after mixed US economic data last week. While data on Friday revealed that US employers hired more workers than anticipated in the previous month, casting doubts on expectations of a Federal Reserve interest rate cut in March, a contrasting survey from the Institute for Supply Management indicated a considerable slowdown in the US services sector.

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In Australia, attention has turned to the upcoming release of November inflation and retail sales data, which is expected to influence the direction of monetary policy in the country. Unlike the Federal Reserve, which adopted a dovish stance in its December policy meeting, the Reserve Bank of Australia contemplated rate hikes last month but chose to pause, citing sufficient encouraging signs in inflation data.

In Sydney, energy stocks saw a notable 1.1 per cent jump, reaching their highest level since November 7. Woodside Energy shares also climbed 0.9 per cent. Meanwhile, mining stocks remained largely unchanged, with Rio Tinto and Fortescue gaining 0.7 per cent and 0.4 per cent, respectively. Gold stocks registered a 0.3 per cent increase, and Northern Star Resources shares surged by 0.8 per cent.

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Financial stocks displayed mixed movements, with ANZ Group rising by 0.3 per cent, while Commonwealth Bank Of Australia witnessed a slight decline of 0.4 per cent. Notable individual stock movements included Boss Energy, which soared nearly 9 per cent, becoming the top gainer in the ASX 200 benchmark index and reaching its highest level since November 3.

Across the Tasman Sea, in New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index retreated by 0.2 per cent to 11,719.25, contributing to the overall cautious sentiment in the Asia-Pacific markets. Investors are keenly observing developments in economic data and monetary policy cues for potential market directions in the coming weeks.

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(With Reuters inputs)
 

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Published January 8th, 2024 at 07:33 IST

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