Australian share market slips as CPI data prints below expectations

The Australian share market snapped a four-day winning streak in a subdued trading session on Wednesday even as fresh inflation data showed softer than expected consumer price growth in January.

At the culmination of trade, the benchmark index, the S&P/ASX200 slipped 2.6 points lower to 7,660.4, while the All Ordinaries fared slightly worse, down 0.1 per cent to 7,917.1.

The Australian dollar shed 0.4 per cent by the closing bell to buy $US65.18c.

Following the release of fresh inflation data, which showed consumer price growth remained steady at 3.4 per cent in January, money markets raised their bets on lower rates in 2024, and are now fully priced for a cut in September.

“We believe [the RBA] might reduce the cash rate sooner and faster than currently envisaged,” KPMG chief economist Dr Brendan Rynne said.

Results on Wall Street were mixed overnight, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq rising 0.4 per cent, 0.1 per cent off its record of 16057.44. The S&P500 added 0.2 per cent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.3 per cent, or 96.8 points.

Bitcoin prices also reached their highest level in more than two years, climbing to $57,537.84, as traders sought out riskier bets.

“Investors are looking for that 5 to 10 per cent to diversify their portfolios, and aside from investing in equities … a lot of are happy to put some money into cryptocurrencies as well.” Eight Cap market analyst Zoran Krescovic said.

On the local gauge, six of 11 industry sectors finished in the green with tech stocks the star performers, adding 2.9 per cent. Sector heavyweight Xero surged 4.4 per cent to $127, NextDC vaulted 13.1 per cent to $17.15x, and Megaport climbed 2.4 per cent to $14.27.

After rallying 2.2 per cent on Tuesday, consumer staples was the biggest laggard, dipping 0.8 per cent, after sector heavyweight Woolworths traded ex-dividend.

In corporate news, Neuren Pharmaceuticals dived 10.9 per cent to $19.15 after the launch of its Daybue drug in the United States failed to live up to investor expectations.

Flight Centre sank 3.9 per cent to $20.89 after the firm announced underlying earnings of $120m, falling short of consensus forecasts.

Nickel and Copper prospector Chalice Mining was the top performing stock on the benchmark, rocketing 24.8 per cent higher to $1.26. The stock has lost 80.2 per cent of its value in the last 12 months.

Money manager Perpetual slipped 2.3 per cent to $24.36 even as it declared a dividend of 65c per share. The firm is still mulling a split of its corporate trusts and wealth management business.

Embattled pathology provider Healius posted its second consecutive session in the red, shedding an additional 6.7 per cent to $1.18, after reporting a $636m loss on Tuesday.

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