ASX 200 Closes Lower as Higher Rates Hit Sentiment

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ASX 200 Closes Lower as Higher Rates Hit Sentiment
Credit: © Reuters.

By Oliver Gray - The S&P/ASX 200 fell 41.90 points or 0.58% to 7,206.50 during Wednesday’s trade, extending losses of 0.4% in the previous session and trading near 3-month lows as the prospect of higher interest rates spooked investors, after the RBNZ announced their first rate hike since 2014, lifting the target cash rate 25 basis points to 0.5%.

In coronavirus news, Victoria tallied 1420 cases, as health minister Martin Foley announced that rapid antigen tests will be trialed in the state after approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, while NSW recorded 594 cases as Premier Dominic Perrottet confirmed that Freedom Day won’t come early, despite the 70% double vaccination target being reached today. Meantime, the ACT added 28 cases.

Among stocks, Flight Centre (ASX: FLT ) dropped 6.75%, Qantas Airways Ltd (ASX: QAN ) lost 2.26% and Webjet Ltd (ASX: WEB ) fell 6.19%. Meantime, oil companies gained with Santos Ltd (ASX: STO ) up 2.75% and Oil Search Ltd (ASX: OSH ) up 2.48%. Financials were lower, with Commonwealth Bank Of Australia (ASX: CBA ) down 2.03% after JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM ) downgraded it to underweight and APRA tightened lending rules. National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB ) lost 1.08% and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC ) fell 0.85%. Meantime, A2 Milk Company Ltd (ASX: A2M ) plunged 7.67% following news of a class action being filed against the company.

On the bond markets, Australia 10-Year yields surged to 4-month highs of 1.615% while United States 10-Year rates were at similar 4-month highs of 1.569%.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 lost 33.55 points or 0.25% to 13166.44.

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