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The local market recovered from the red start to the week in the early hours of trade on Tuesday before falling in afternoon trade to close 0.07% lower as investor optimism was initially boosted by weaker-than-expected retail sales before confidence was dampened by the fact that the lower retail sales will likely have low impact on the upcoming RBA interest rate decision next week. Consumer staples stocks led the market gains today while information tech stocks were sold off amid investor fears of prolonged interest rate hikes to come.
Retail sales for the month of December tumbled 3.9% to $34.47bn despite traditionally being the busiest month of the year for retailers. Department stores were the worst hit with a decline of 14.3%, while clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing fell 13.1%. The decline in retail sales caused a sell-off in retail stocks like Myer Holdings (ASX:MYR), City Chic Collective (ASX:CCX) and Lovisa (ASX:LOV) today, however has investors now hoping the RBA will ease its rate hike stance at the next meeting next Tuesday.
Software defined networking company Megaport (ASX:MP1) tanked over 24% on Tuesday after releasing a quarterly update including cash from operations was $0.2m, down from Q1 with lower receipts from customers, total net cash flow of minus $11.9m which is a further dive from the minus $9.6m in the prior corresponding quarter, and the company burnt almost $50m in cash from the same period a year earlier to close the quarter with $57.5m in cash.
Infant formula producer Bubs Australia (ASX:BUB) crashed more than 9% yesterday after also releasing a Q2 trading update including group gross revenue down 28% on the PCP to $14.3m driven by gross revenue from the Chinese market down 66% for the quarter amid prolonged lockdowns in the region. International gross revenue for the quarter was strong, boosted by US shipments and the company recently making progress on its journey to gain permanent US regulatory approval.
The winning stocks from today’s session were led by Woolworths (ASX:WOW) jumping 3.77%, while Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) added 2.7% and EVT (ASX:EVT) rose 2.55%. And on the losing end, Megaport (ASX:MP1) took the biggest hit today closing down almost 25%, Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA) fell just under 12% and Allkem (ASX:AKE) closed the day down 7.5%.
On the commodities front today, oil is down 0.32% at US$77.65/barrel amid rate hike decisions by central banks this week as well as Russian oil exports remaining strong. Gold is down 0.15% today at US$1919/ounce and iron ore is up 4.42% at US$130/tonne.
Further economic data released today included Chinese Manufacturing PMI for January coming in at 50.1 points which was above expectations and growth from December, indicating the Chinese economy is recovering faster than anticipated after the scrapping of the harsh COVID-19 lockdowns.
The Aussie dollar is buying US$0.70, 91.63 Japanese Yen, 57.31 British Pence, and NZ$1.09.