The Australian market was modestly higher this week but couldn’t break the recent trading range of between 5,700-5,800 points as investors digested the first of many earnings reports this season. The RBA left the cash rate on hold this week at a historical low of 1.50% and highlighted an increased concern over the recent appreciation of the Australian dollar. The RBA indicated that the move particularly reflects U.S. dollar weakness and that the knock on effect could be lower inflation, and could weigh on the “outlook for output and employment”. Most sectors in the S&P/ASX 200 index were in the black at the end
Most sectors in the ASX 200 index were in the black at the end of the week with utilities, industrials and energy being the standout performers. Lithium company, Galaxy Resources was one of the best performers in the S&P/ASX 200 index following a company announcement stating that its James Bay project had delivered further high grade drilling results. iSentia Group was one of the worst performers following a trading update that revised FY17 earnings guidance lower and included a write down of its King Content business.
In global markets, Wall Street was mixed as reporting season was well and truly underway. Amazon shares slumped on disappointing earnings but Apple posted stronger than expected quarterly earnings and this helped the Dow Jones index higher. White House dramas continued with Anthony Scaramucci leaving the post of White House communications director 10 days after being appointed. In economic news, gross domestic product disappointed for the June quarter by recording 2.6%, short of expectations for a 2.8% increase. The Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation, the price index for personal consumption expenditures, slipped in June to 1.4% from 1.5% in May.
European markets were mixed but the FTSE 100 was higher following comments by the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, who said that “if the UK financial system thrives in a post-Brexit world, which is the plan, it will be 15 to 20 times GDP in another quarter of a century”. Asian markets were higher despite the political uncertainty in the U.S. but there was some caution as investors await data such as the U.S. labour market report to assess the overall strength of the global economy.
The Australian dollar was lower against most major currencies this week but still managed to hold above US79c as U.S. GDP growth came in under expectation.