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On Wednesday, Australian shares rose to a two-month high, as tech shares gained 3.5%, following the US tech rally. The local tech sector was led by Afterpay’s parent company Block (ASX:SQ2), which rose to its highest closing price since the company officially listed on the ASX in January, at $188.10.
Financials closed at the sector’s highest level since mid-November. Major banks, NAB, CBA, Westpac and ANZ all closed with solid gains, which may partly reflect comments on the increase in interest rates by US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Morgan Stanley has said that ANZ and NAB could announced a $1 billion and $2 billion buyback, respectively, in May, while CBA may launch another share buyback, with an additional $2 billion, if it goes ahead with plans to sell its 10% stake in the Chinese Bank, the Bank of Hangzhou.
Looking at the ASX200 leaderboard shares in Uniti Group (ASX:UWL) led among blue chips. UWL surged 10.7% before entering into a trading halt in afternoon trade. This followed news of a $5 a share bid for Uniti, made by Macquarie Asset Management and PSP Investments. This new proposal beats the current offer on the table from Morrison & Co by approximately 11%. Meanwhile Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (ASX:FPH) fell 8%, after the company announced it expects a decline in its sales guidance for FY22 and also warned that freight costs are weighing on margins.
US equities closed in the red, with all three major benchmarks lower. The Dow was down 1.3%, the S&P500 down 1.2% and the Nasdaq down 1.3%.
What to watch today: