— Finance

Australian stocks pull back ending last April day of trading lower

Miners and bankers have weighed down on the Australian share market, which ended the last trading day of April lower. Australian stocks pulled back from the prospect of a 14-month high on the previous trading of April, with energy shares weighing down the market’s performance.

Despite gains on Wall Street and new record highs for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq following surges in US tech giants Apple and Facebook after their results, the Australian market could not follow the trend, snapping a two-day winning streak set on Thursday.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 56.5 points, or 0.8 percent, to 7025.8, while the All Ordinaries index dipped 55.3 points, or 0.75 percent, to 7290.7.

Gold was trading at a spot price of $US1772.72 an ounce at the close of the local session, and the Australian dollar was buying 77.76 US cents. “After hitting fresh 15-month highs earlier in the week, the market has stalled and failed to push through strong resistance to follow our overseas counterparts to new all-time highs,” OpenMarkets chief executive Ivan Tchourilov said.

“April is historically one the strongest months of the year, achieving gains around 85 percent of the time over the past 15 or so years. “Conversely, this is followed by one of the weakest months of the year being May.”

PointsBet came out on top as the best performing ASX 200 stock of the day, rising 7.4 percent to $13.60. Shares in Mesoblast rallied 6.8 percent to $1.96 after the company revealed promising results that its remestemcel-L drug treatment lowered mortality risk in COVID-19 patients under 65.

Beach Energy plummeted 24.1 percent to $1.28 after cutting its full-year production targets following a challenging third quarter.

Japara Healthcare rose 26.2 percent to $1.01 after throwing its name in the ring to acquire Calvary Healthcare. Investors welcomed Sezzle’s first-quarter performance, prompting its shares to jump 8.4 percent to $9.63. Analysts at Royal Bank of Canada set a 12-month target price of $13 for the buy-now-pay-later company.

The US rival to Afterpay in the North American market also flagged a potential US listing due to growing demand for its service. Commonwealth Bank slid from gains set earlier in the week that saw it crack $90 a share. The nation’s largest bank dropped 1.1 percent to $89.04 at the close of Friday’s session.

Friday’s market slump also weighed on the other three central banks, with ANZ falling 0.8 percent to $24.98 after it warned of $817m in impairment costs to hit its cash profit, set to be released next Wednesday.

Westpac fell 0.7 percent to $28.74, and NAB closed 0.4 percent lower to $26.66. Major miners also weighed heavily on the market’s inability to push through, with Rio Tinto stooping 1.7 percent lower to $121.15 and BHP tumbling 2 percent to $47.70.

AMP fell 1.8 percent to $1.12 despite avoiding a second strike from investors at the 172-year-old company’s annual general meeting.

Qantas dropped 1 percent to $4.95, while supermarket giant Woolworths felt the swing in the market and fell 1.3 percent to $39.30. Janus Henderson closed 5.2 percent higher to $44.85, and Telstra was unchanged at $3.39.

Gemma Broadhurst
Gemma Broadhurst is a 23-year-old computing student who enjoys extreme ironing, hockey and duck herding. She is kind and entertaining, but can also be very standoffish and a bit evil.She is an Australian Christian. She is currently at college. studying computing. She is allergic to milk. She has a severe phobia of chickens

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