The S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.7% higher on Monday, at 7049.10. US futures sank from early in the session with Dow futures dropping more than 500 points. Locally, Australian buy now pay later provider Zip has announced its acquisition bid for fellow lender Sezzle, in an all-scrip deal that will see 222.3 million new shares issued in Zip. The deal, valued at nearly $200m, marks key consolidation in the buy now pay later space. It is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, that must be met by no later than November 28 2022.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed that Australia's January retail sales rose 1.8% month on month, well beyond Bloomberg's consensus estimate of 0.3%.
The S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.6% for the month of February and is down 7% year to date, with volatility hitting global markets as Russia invaded Ukraine. ASX-listed companies reported earnings through the month with standouts being mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP, on higher commodities prices. Oil prices rallied and the Energy sector was the biggest gainer for the month, up 9%. The Information Technology sector fell more than 6% and Consumer Discretionary was down 5% for the month before the market opened this morning, with inflation and US Federal Reserve monetary policy and the fear of aggressive rate hikes the focus.
The Reserve Bank of Australia holds its second board meeting of 2022 on Tuesday, with no change expected to the official cash rate.
Brent crude oil is holding above $US100 and spot gold is at $US1910 an ounce. Markets in Japan, Singapore, China, and Hong Kong are falling. New Zealand’s NZX 50 closed up 0.5%.
The Aussie dollar is at US71.79c against the US dollar.
Bitcoin is $US37,818.
Gold is $US1910.00 an ounce.
Brent crude oil is holding around $US102.01 a barrel.
WTI crude oil is at $US98.58 a barrel.
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