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S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) rallies on inflation data

Here’s today’s latest S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: XJO) market update by Drew Meredith, CFP, from Wattle Partners: Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) and Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL) added more than 1 per cent as signs of stable inflation meant hopes for stronger profit margins improved.

The latest inflation print did little to disappoint, coming in in line with the prior month, at 3.4 per cent, below the 3.5 per cent expected by economists.

The key contributes were housing (3.4 per cent) and alcohol (6.1 per cent) as many other short-term prices continue to fall. The result was that 9 of the 11 sectors managed a positive result, led by consumer staples which gained 1.4 per cent.

Both Woolworths and Coles added more than 1 per cent as signs of stable inflation meant hopes for stronger profit margins improved.

It was the opposite story for Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) as the major bank announced a $3 to $3.5 billion investment strategy that would see the entire businesses technology platform updated.

In a long-needed change each of the underlying brands including St George and Bank of Melbourne would be brought into line.

APM halted as PE walks away: Value manager Platinum (ASX:PTM) hit by outflows

APM Human Services International Ltd (ASX: APM), a company that finds jobs and organises services for those on the National Disability Insurance Scheme entered a trading halt after private equity suitor CVC Asia Pacific announced it was walking away from a $1.83 billion takeover.

This would have seen the embattled provider taken off the ASX, having fallen 50 per cent since listing in late 2021.

Shares in stalwart global equity, value manager Platinum Asset Management Ltd (ASX: PTM) sank by more than 20 per cent after PTM reported an unexpected $1.4 billion in outflows from an unnamed client.

According to the announcement it was due to the investor wanting to ‘rebalance’ away from actively managed global equities.

Iron ore miners managed to outperform, with BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) gaining 0.1 per cent despite another 4.2 per cent fall in the iron ore price overnight.

S&P500 hits new record: Dow Jones has best day of 2024

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX: .DJI) and S&P 500 (INDEXSP: .INX) both rallied strongly ahead of the Easter break, with the former gaining 1.2 and the latter 0.9 per cent, taking the S&P500 to another all-time high.

The index is now up more than 25 per cent since October.

Wednesday saw laggards Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) outperform, while a number of company specific announcements boosted sentiment.

Merck & Co Inc (NYSE: MRK) added close to 5 per cent after the drug producer received approval for a new high blood pressure treatment. Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) added 0.9 per cent as the company announced a further US$2.5 billion investment into AI-led business Anthropic.

On the retail side, trading platform Robinhood Markets Inc (NASDAQ: HOOD) finished 3.8 per cent higher after announcing the release of a credit card for its customers, while Carnival Corp (NYSE: CCL) gained 0.9 after upgrading guidance on record demand for cruises.

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At the time of publishing, the author or their clients may have a financial interest in some of companies or securities mentioned.

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Wattle Partners is a financial advice firm, servicing clients around Australia, specialising in retirement planning (pre and post retirement). 

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