ASX up about 1 per cent after import surge

Australia’s share market has sprung higher after data showed a seven per cent surge in imports in July, a sign of growing consumer activity.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was up 58.7 points, or 0.96 per cent, to 6121.9 points at 1200 AEST on Thursday.

The All Ordinaries index was higher by 55.4 points, or 0.88 per cent, to 6307.2.

The increase in imports was part of Australian Bureau of Statistics data which showed the nation’s trade surplus almost halved in July to $4.6 billion from $8.1 billion in June.

Exports fell four per cent, but the market was more interested in the imports.

IG Markets analyst Kyle Rodda said the increase in imports had lifted for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s a good sign,” he said.

The market had already been trading higher due to a good lead from the US.

Financials had the top gain, 1.83 per cent.

ANZ was up 2.32 per cent to $18.47, the Commonwealth was higher by 1.16 per cent to $68.40, NAB gained 2.15 per cent to $18.00 and Westpac rose by 2.19 per cent to $17.70.

Consumer discretionaries were higher by 1.64 per cent, and property was higher by 1.57 per cent.

Industrials, consumer staples and health all had gains of more than 1.0 per cent.

CSL was up 1.18 per cent to $290.59.

In mining, BHP was ex-dividend and lost 2.0 per cent to $37.73. Rio Tinto shed 0.22 per cent to $98.77 and Fortescue lost 0.13 per cent to $17.99.

Shares in artificial intelligence group BrainChip Holdings have surged 16.84 per cent to 55 cents.

The Sydney-based company provides software and hardware to customers such as intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world.

Shares in infant formula provider Bubs were down 6.28 per cent to 85 cents after it raised $28.3 million from an institutional placement. Shares were sold at 80 cents each.

Bubs said the funds will help buy a manufacturing site in China and expand to other parts of the world.

A share purchase plan for retail investors is planned and aims to raise $10 million.

Earlier, US markets had their best day in about two months.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged more than 450 points, while the benchmark S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit record highs. 

Data showed US private payrolls expanded last month, but at a much slower pace than expected.

Investors are now waiting for the government’s comprehensive employment report which is slated for Friday.

The Aussie dollar was buying 73.26 US cents, lower from 73.64 US cents at the close on Wednesday.

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