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Closing Bell 1 February

Grady Wulff
February 1, 2023

The ASX closed the midweek session at a nine-month high, ending the day up 0.33% as investors piled into real estate and materials stocks, while selling out of energy and technology stocks.

Head of economic analysis at the RBA Marion Kohler said inflation has peaked and will begin to ease over the course of this year. She said the RBA remains focused on returning inflation to the target range and establishing a more sustainable balance of demand and supply in the Australian economy.

Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) shares took flight today, closing the session up over 8% after successfully completing a $180m placement through the issue of 12.3 million new shares. The Placement was strongly supported by existing and new institutional investors with demand exceeding the Placement size. The proceeds from the placement will be used to fund the acquisition of a 100% interest in Luxury Travel Holdings to grow Flight Centre’s leisure presence in the US and UK luxury markets.

Credit Corp (ASX:CCP) kicked off earnings season today with a bang, as the company closed the day up almost 1% on the back of first half results including 32% growth in the consumer loan book, on track for record full year consumer lending segment earnings, and a significant step-up in US resourcing to meet the opportunity in the region. Credit Corp also reported a 30% decline in NPAT to $31.8m due to up-front loss provisioning and marketing expense from rapid loan book growth, costs arising from increased US resourcing and run-off in the core AU/NZ debt buying segment.

The winning stocks from today’s session were Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) adding over 8%, James Hardie Industries (ASX:JHX) climbing 4.3% and Imugene (ASX:IMU) rallying 3.7%.

And on the losing end Pinnacle Investment Management (ASX:PNI) fell 7.21%, Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN) lost 4.12% and Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX) shed 3.7%.

The most traded stocks by Bell Direct clients today were CSL (ASX:CSL) , Beach Energy  (ASX:BPT) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO).

On the commodities front, oil has risen to trade at US$ /barrel amid easing fears that the world’s largest oil user, the US, may face a recession on rising interest rates in the region. The price of oil is on watch ahead of the US Fed’s rate decision and production guidance from OPEC and its allies. Gold is trading, flat at US$1927/ounce and Iron ore is down 0.77% at US$129/tonne.

The Aussie dollar is buying 71 US cents, 91.90 Japanese Yen, 57.26 British Pence and 1 New Zealand dollar and 10 cents.

Investors globally will be awaiting the release of the Fed’s interest rate decision overnight with markets expecting a rise of just 25-basis points.

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