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ASX flat ahead of US inflation data

The Australian share market has closed flat, with gains by the big banks and CSL balanced by losses in the mining sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX index finished up 4.1 points, or 0.06 per cent, on Tuesday, while the All Ordinaries fell 5.7 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 6,786.9.

“The market is proceeding very, very quietly with absolute caution,” Saxo Capital Markets analyst Jessica Amir said.

“Because the US CPI data could move markets in either direction. So it’s kind of like the defining point for markets.”

If the US consumer price index released on Wednesday night (AEST) shows inflation easing, that will lessen the case for an aggressive rate hike on July 27. But the Federal Reserve will be prompted to act again if inflation is still raging.

“And we do have thin volume as well, a lot of people are still on holidays,” Ms Amir said. “All in all, that’s why the market is pretty light on trading today, pretty conservative.”

The mining sector was the biggest loser on Tuesday, falling 1.2 per cent as COVID-19 lockdowns in Macau weighed on metal prices.

BHP fell 1.4 per cent to $37.46, South32 dropped 2.2 per cent to $3.55, and OZ Minerals retreated 3.6 per cent to $16.29.

But CSL rose 1.6 per cent to a six-month closing high of $292.69, in the blood product giant’s eighth straight winning session.

The big banks were higher, with CBA rising 1.2 per cent to $93.63, NAB climbing 1.3 per cent to $28.13, Westpac up 0.8 per cent to $20.10 and ANZ advancing 0.5 per cent to $22.70.

Elsewhere in the financial sector, NIB climbed 2.8 per cent to hit an 11-month high of $7.66, while fellow medical insurer Medibank gained 1.2 per cent to finish at a six-month high of $3.31.

Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths hit two-month highs, climbing 1.9 per cent to $18.65 and 2.0 per cent to $37.16, while alcohol retailer and Woolworths spin-off Endeavour Group added 0.9 per cent to a record close of $7.90.

Coalminer New Hope Corp added 3.5 per cent to reach a one-month high $3.90, while Whitehaven Coal advanced 1.8 per cent to $5.16.

Zip Co added six per cent to 53c while Sezzle fell 38.6 per cent to 25.5c after the buy now, pay later companies mutually agreed to terminate their merger agreement.

Zip had reaffirmed the February deal was on track as recently as June 20.

They will pay Sezzle a $US11 million break-up fee to cover the costs associated with the failed transaction.

Eagers Automotive finished up 3.3 per cent to a five-week high of $10.91 after the car dealership group said it expected to declare a half-year profit of $246 million, beating guidance of $225 million to $240 million.

Viva Energy closed up 2.6 per cent to $2.81 after the Shell petrol station and Geelong refinery owner said it expects to announce half-year earnings had increased by 140 per cent to $614 million, compared with the same period a year ago.

MyDeal.com.au gained 0.5 per cent to $1.03 after the online marketplace announced it had beaten guidance with $272.2 million in fourth-quarter gross sales, up 24.8 per cent from a year ago.

The Australian dollar fell to a fresh two-year low against its surging US counterpart. It was buying 67.20 US cents, from 68.07 US cents at Monday’s close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed on Tuesday up 4.1 points , or 0.06 per cent, at 6,606.3

* The broader All Ordinaries dropped 5.8 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 6,786.8


One Australian dollar buys:

* 67.20 US cents, from 68.04 US cents at Monday’s close

* 92.27 Japanese yen, from 93.19 yen

* 67.15 Euro cents, from 67.21 cents

* 56.70 British pence, from 56.88 pence

* 110.20 NZ cents, from 110.45 cents

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