Note from the MD: Census working overtime: One month out from critical survey and confusion abounds

We’re now about a month out from the next Australian census and no doubt the data collected will yield some interesting results this time around.

We’re now about a month out from the next Australian census and no doubt the data collected will yield some interesting results this time around.

Government estimates every dollar invested into the dull but useful survey generates about $6 for the economy, which to date has recovered well despite some concerns about how future inflation prints will look.

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It’s also difficult to predict what will be happening in Australia come census night, with today’s news of extended lockdowns in New South Wales and new outbreaks in Victoria costing the Australian economy billions and prompting renewed border closures.

Concern over the ongoing lockdowns in Sydney are playing out in markets, as evidenced by the ASX 200’s (ASX: XJO) recent pattern of sudden gains in the morning followed by a steady decline in the afternoons.

Today was no different.

The market has continued it’s sideways grind closing at 7354.7. With the monthly expiry tomorrow we will be watching which side of the 7350 strike the OPIC price lands. With the market trading above the upward sloping 50 day MA (7213) there is some strong support for the market.

But there is also strong resistance at the 7400 level. If the market breaks either of these levels convincingly, we could see some momentum enter the market as buying or selling pressure is unleashed.

Gains were broad-based, with nearly every sector finishing the day on a positive note.

The consumer staples (ASX: AXJ) and consumer discretionary (ASX: AXDJ) indexes both saw modest lifts of 0.94% and 0.70% respectively, possibly in the wake of Westpac reporting a 1.5% lift in consumer confidence despite NSW recording a noticeable drop amid its lockdown.

The black sheep however was the tech sector, which closed 2.74% lower after reports that Apple may look to enter the buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) market triggered something of a bloodbath.

Homegrown BNPL heavyweight Afterpay (ASX: APT) ended the session 9.59% down while Zip Co (ASX: Z1P) gave up 11.38%.

Sezzle (ASX: SZL) similarly shed 10.26%.

In the small cap space things were closer to flat – the Small Ordinaries index (ASX: XSO) climbed 0.30% while the Emerging Cap index (ASX: XEC) chalked up a slight 0.14% increase.

Big winners in the smaller end of the market were predominantly miners, with SSR Mining (ASX: SSR) gaining 4.95%, Orocobre Limited (ASX: ORE) up 2.1%, and Galaxy Resources (ASX: GXY) putting on 2.73% throughout the day.

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