October 1, 2019 / 2:18 AM / a month ago

Australian shares edge up ahead of anticipated c.bank rate cut

* Light trading ahead of RBA policy decision

* Rate-sensitive sectors up

* Gold stocks down as firmer dollar hits prices

By Nikhil Nainan

Oct 1 (Reuters) - Australian shares edged higher on Tuesday ahead of a widely anticipated rate cut by the country’s central bank, though some investors doubted it would have much impact on the market.

The S&P/ASX 200 index added 11.8 points, or 0.2% to 6,7000 by 0148 GMT. The benchmark closed 0.4% lower on Monday.

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision is due at 0430 GMT.

With the policy interest already only 1.0%, “easing further at today’s already low rates might not work, and could backfire. But is it even necessary?,” ING said in a note on Monday.

Damian Rooney, a director of equity sales at Argonaut, said a cut “just gives you a bit of a sugar hit... and with interest rates globally at very low levels, I am concerned about the health of the global economy.”

He said it’s doubtful there will be “real buying” of shares on the back of a rate cut.

On Tuesday morning, consumer discretionary and real estate stocks helped drive the benchmark higher, with retail conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd climbing 1.3%.

Real estate stocks, Boral Ltd and Adelaide Brighton Ltd rose 1.5% and 1.6%, respectively.

The sector also received a boost by home prices in Australia posting their biggest monthly jump in 2-1/2 years in September, a further sign that the housing market is recovering.

The largest airline, Qantas Airways, jumped 1.6% amid lower oil prices.

The “Big Four” banks were all slightly lower, down between 0.1% and 0.4%.

Gold stocks were among the biggest drags amid a stronger U.S. dollar, which sent prices of the metal lower.

Newcrest Mining dropped 3.6% to a near three-week low, while Resolute Mining and St Barbara also slumped.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was little changed at 10,924.24.

The local listing of Westpac Banking Corp and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group fell 1.2% and 0.8%, respectively.

Earlier in the day, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand said its final decision on a proposal to increase the amount of capital banks must hold will be announced in December.

The top Australian banks, which are the biggest lenders in New Zealand, have said they would scale back or sell their businesses in the country if the RBNZ pushes ahead with the plans.

For more individual stocks activity click on (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru)

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