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The local market’s green run came to an end today in a muted session as the key index closed just 0.03% lower. A sharp sell-off in materials and utilities stocks offset strong gains among consumer staples and healthcare stocks today. As recession fears increasingly dominate market sentiment, sectors like consumer staples and health care are remaining resilient as these companies traditionally remain strong during a recessionary environment.
Tech retail specialist JB Hi-Fi (ASX:JBH) released Q2 sales results and preliminary half year 2023 results including record sales of $5.28 billion and record earnings of $479.2 million for HY23. The strong performance follows continued elevated consumer demand and operating conditions starting to normalise following two-years of COVID related disruptions. Shares in JB Hi-Fi rallied in morning trade before retreating amid the broader market sell-off today.
Hub24 (ASX:HUB) shares were sold off on Tuesday after the wealth management technology firm released a Q2 update including net inflows for the quarter broadly flat on Q1 but dropping 23.6% to $5.8 billion from record inflows achieved in Q2 of FY22, and down 13.6% for the first half of FY23.
The winning stocks from today’s session were Novonix (ASX:NVX) adding 5.5%, Metcash (ASX:MTS) jumping 2.74% and Johns Lyng Group (ASX:JLG) rallying 2.71%. And on the losing end of the market Imugene (ASX:IMU) tumbling 5.88%, while Capricorn Metals (ASX:CMM) and Regis Resources (ASX:RRL) each fell 5.6 and 4.8% respectively.
On the commodities front, oil is trading lower again around US$79/barrel as recession fears continue dominating global market sentiment, while iron ore is also trading sharply lower by more than 4% at US$121.50/tonne as China attempts to cool demand outlook of the commodity. Gold is also down almost 0.4% today at US$1910.58/ounce and coal is only slightly lower at US$370/tonne. Goldman Sachs researchers have said commodities have the strongest outlook of any asset class in 2023 given the perfect macroeconomic environment with critically low inventories for almost every key raw material against surging demand. The year has started with a pullback in prices due to warm weather shock and rising interest rates, however with China coming back online, the yearly outlook for commodity prices is looking up.
Westpac Consumer Confidence data released today showed Aussie confidence rose 5% to 84.3 points for January, which well exceeded market forecasts of a 2.3% decline.
The Australian dollar is buying US$0.70, 89.75 Japanese Yen, 57 British Pence, and NZ$1.09.