Market Update: RBA holds interest rates

The Reserve Bank of Australia has kept interest rates on hold at 4.35%, in line with expectations from ING Bank analysts and others.

A recent survey of economists showed only one of two dozen had called an RBA rate hike, despite concerns the central bank may be forced to do so this year.

It will be interesting to see how the ASX200 reacts through the afternoon, given stocks have staged an impressive rally year to date in a high-interest rate environment, meaning a pause is still good news of a strong economy.

Australia’s latest quarterly retail data was released today, showing a continued but slow decline in retail spending.

While retail sales volumes were down 1.3% year-on-year, retail prices increased 0.6% in the first three months of 2024.

The fall in retail volumes was mostly driven by household goods retailing, down 2.9% in the quarter, offsetting a rise the quarter prior. The Northern Territory and Tasmania saw retail sales increase.

Meanwhile, utilities are among the leaders due to a guidance upgrade from AGL. AGL was up 6.45% heading into lunchtime trades with the utilities sector edging up 1.4% at the same time. The IT sector follows, up around 1%.

Company News

BHP Group (ASX:BHP) is up nearly 1% heading into lunchtime trades, as iron ore prices in Singapore nearly touched US$120 a tonne.

BHP is trading at $43.10.

ANZ (ASX:ANZ) is also down around 1%, after it released its half yearly results for the Financial Year 2024, which reported cash profits at $3.5 billion – a 7% decline compared to the last half.

ANZ has been trading at $28.54.

Recce Pharmaceuticals (ASX:RCE) has confirmed its receipt of a patent in China to protect its class of anti-infective drugs.

The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) formally awarded the company a ‘Patent Family 2’ for expiry in 2035.

Recce highlighted on that China boasts the second largest pharmaceutical market in the world, worth sUS$140 Billion in 2021 according to its own calculations.

RCE has been trading at 65 cents.

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