News & Analyses

ASX 200 pulls back after reaching record highs, trades around 7,870

  • ASX 200 Index corrects after reaching record highs on Tuesday.
  • Australia’s market sentiment improved due to the positive manufacturing performance in China.
  • Genex Power has verified that Fortescue has not fulfilled the conditions precedent for one of Queensland’s largest renewable energy projects.

The ASX 200 Index retreats to around 7,870 after reaching new record highs on Tuesday. The index saw support from gains in materials, mining, and utilities sectors. Sentiment received a boost from positive manufacturing performance in China, Australia’s primary trading partner, as indicated by a private survey showing factory activity expanding at its fastest rate in 13 months.

Some of the top gainers included West African Resources, which surged by 5.00% to reach 1.26; Newmont, rising by 1.65% to 36.43; and Gold Road Resources, gaining 4.87% to reach 1.66. Conversely, among the top losers were Orora, plummeting by 13.42% to 2.36; Netwealth Group, declining by 5.16% to 20.03; and Megaport, decreasing by 4.60% to 14.30.

Macmahon Holdings specializes in providing comprehensive mining services to clients across Australia and Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on the gold sector. The company has expanded its operations into capital-tight sectors such as mining support services and civil infrastructure, diversifying its portfolio.

Genex Power has confirmed that Fortescue, a major Australian resources company, has not yet met the conditions precedent for one of Queensland’s largest renewable energy projects. Fortescue had previously entered into a 25-year solar power purchase agreement (PPA) with Genex in October 2023 for the Bulli Creek Solar and Battery Project (BCP).

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) March meeting minutes indicate that the central bank did not consider the option of raising interest rates. With inflation rates persisting higher than those in other countries and a tight job market, the RBA is anticipated to maintain the current cash rate until at least November.


Australian Stock Market FAQs

Stock markets in Australia are managed by the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), headquartered in Sydney. The main indices are the S&P/ASX 200 and the S&P/ASX 300, which track the performance of the 200 and 300 largest stocks by market capitalization listed on the exchange, respectively. The S&P/ASX 200 was launched in April 2000, and it is rebalanced every quarter.

Almost half of the index belongs to the financial sector, with major banks like the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac or National Australia Bank. The so-called materials sector is also relevant – comprising almost 20% of the weighting in the index – with mining giants such as BHP Group or Rio Tinto. Other important sectors are biotechnology, real estate, consumer staples, and industrials.

Many different factors drive the ASX 200, but mainly it is the aggregate performance of the component companies revealed in their quarterly and annual earnings reports the main factor behind its performance. Commodity prices can also affect the index given its significant share of mining companies. Macroeconomic data such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, inflation, or unemployment data from Australia is also important as they are indicators of the health of the country’s economy and thus the profitability of its largest companies. Global economic conditions may also play a role, particularly from China, as the Asian country is Australia’s largest trading partner.

The level of interest rates in Australia, set by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), also influences the ASX 200 and ASX 300 indexes as it affects the cost of credit, on which many firms are heavily reliant. Generally, when the RBA cuts interest rates (or signals it is going to do it), it is positive for the Australian stock market as it means a lower cost of credit for companies and higher economic growth ahead, likely boosting sales. On the contrary, if the RBA signals that it will increase interest rates, this tends to weigh on the index. As always, there is a caveat: banks. Financial institutions tend to benefit from higher interest rates because they earn more from lending to other businesses, thus boosting their overall income.


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