Aust shares follow Wall St higher

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The Australian equity market continued its bullish momentum as investor confidence was boosted by hopes of a slowdown in rate hikes by the US central bank.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 rose 28.3 points, or 0.39%, to 7260.1, its best level since May 30.

The wider All Ordinaries rose 27.1 points or 0.37% to 7449.5.

Thursday’s gains came after minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s November meeting showed officials favoring less aggressive rate hikes in the coming months, a scenario favored by traders worried about a global recession due to aggressive central bank action.

This led Wall Street’s three major indexes to close higher amid broad-based gains.

Local traders followed US trade, and all sectors other than energy were trading higher by midday.

Gains were led by mining stocks, with major iron ore miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue each trading between 1% and 1.5% higher.

Gold stocks joined the party after the price of the precious metal strengthened following the release of Federal Reserve minutes. Shares of Evolution Mining, Northern Star and Newcrest Mining rose 2-4%.

Beaten local tech stocks also followed their US counterparts higher, with Brainchip, Megaport and Wistech being the best performers, up 3-6%.

However, energy stocks bucked the trend as crude prices fell after Group of Seven countries suggested a cap on Russian oil prices. Shares of Woodside Energy and Santos fell 0.7% each.

Shares of Harvey Norman fell nearly 2% to $4.16 despite the electronics and furniture retailer reporting strong first-quarter sales growth in Australia and even better numbers in Malaysia.

Qantas shares continued to climb, rising 1.7% to $6.29, a day after the flag carrier updated its half-year profit forecast due to strong travel demand.

Kogan.com shares jumped nearly 10% to $3.76 after the online retailer said it plans to return to historically higher operating margins in the second half of the fiscal year. In progress.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar rose to 67.43 US cents from 66.42 US cents at the ASX’s close on Wednesday, following a weakening in its US counterpart.

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