Australia share higher advantage in choppy trade ahead of RBA result

  • Tech stocks hit a one-week high, Nasdaq tracks
  • RBA policy outcome expected later today
  • Boral posts biggest intraday gain in PCT since April 2021

Feb 1 (Reuters) – Australian stocks edged higher in choppy trading on Tuesday after tech stocks trailed a robust Nasdaq session overnight, even as investors cautiously awaited the outcome of the Reserve’s monetary policy Bank of Australia expected later today.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (.AXJO) rose 0.2%, or 17.4 points, to 6,994, as of 12:30 GMT, after falling 0.1% earlier in the session. The benchmark index closed down 0.2% on Monday.

A Reuters poll showed Australia’s central bank would end its bond-buying program but would have to wait until November to react to inflationary pressures ahead of its first rate hike. Read more

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The country’s core inflation, which rose at its fastest annual pace since 2014 during the December quarter, suggests that the recent increase in price pressures has not been as benign and transitory as policymakers thought so.

Information technology stocks rose for a third straight day to gain as much as 3.8% and hit a week-long high, trailing their U.S. counterparts on the tech-heavy Nasdaq (.IXIC).

Australian software services provider Xero Ltd (XRO.AX) and investor services provider Computershare Ltd (CPU.AX) rose 0.5% and 2.5% respectively.

Financial sector stocks also rose, with Westpac Banking Corp (WBC.AX) and Macquarie Group (MQG.AX) gaining 0.5% and 2.2% respectively.

A slight rise in bullion prices lifted gold stocks (.AXGD), which jumped around 2% to their best intraday session since Jan. 20, along with Newcrest Mining (NCM.AX) and Northern Star Resources ( NST.AX) gaining more than 1% each.

Miners (.AXMM) extended losses to drop more than 2%, with heavyweights Rio Tinto Ltd (RIO.AX) and BHP Group Ltd (BHP.AX) slipping more than 2% each.

Shares of Boral Ltd jumped 6.5% after the building materials maker announced it would return A$3 billion ($2.12 billion) to shareholders from proceeds from the sale of its North American units. Read more

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 (.NZ50) rose about 1%, or 121.52 points, to 12,010.92.

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Reporting by Archishma Iyer; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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