Local investors ran out of steam on Thursday as early trade saw the local bourse drift sideways. Most major sectors sat in black with the exception of Gold-based stocks, which surged upwards of 5 % as a sector.
Two of the big four banks traded in mild and losses, while Westpac still remained in a trading halt. Investors look to be liquidating their bank exposure to participate in Westpac’s $3.5 billion capital raising announced to the market on Wednesday.
Material stocks enjoyed investor support on Thursday with BHP and RIO up 1.8% and 2.1% respectively. This week saw the two major miners endure intense downward pressure following crude’s skittish behaviour.
Employment numbers were closely watched ahead of lunch and governed trading sentiment for the remainder of the session. Disappointingly, fulltime employment and total employment change both returned surprisingly negative reads. Unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.2%. The Aussie dollar reacted immediately to the news and shed almost half a cent. Local stocks strangely rallied 20 points before giving up all the short lived gains only moments after.
In afternoon trade, the Aussie stocks continued to move in a line-ball fashion, with trading volumes on the skinny side. Gold and material stocks performed most of the heavy lifting to keep the index’s head above water. The Local currency is back trading in mid-0.73 ranges. US inflation numbers due overnight may have further downward pressure on the local currency.