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Note from the MD: Markets rattled after RBA lifts rates above expectation

May 4, 2022

Note from the MD: Markets rattled after RBA lifts rates above expectation

Tuesday was one for the history books – the Reserve Bank pushed the cash rate up for the first time since November 2010.

Tuesday was one for the history books – the Reserve Bank pushed the cash rate up for the first time since November 2010.

That’s roughly 11 years. More than a decade of holding rates flat or cutting them back. To help put that into perspective, the last time rates were increased Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 was still playing at your local cinema.

More importantly, it’s the first time since 2007 that the RBA has made a move like this during an election – something I think says volumes about our current inflation situation.

At any rate, the 0.25% jump rattled markets, which for the most part had priced in an increase of 0.15% instead.

The benchmark ASX 200 index saw an abrupt sell-off at 2.30pm immediately following the news, and while it briefly began to retrace those losses in mid-afternoon, the market ultimately closed 31 points (0.4%) lower.

The XJO has pulled back from trading near all-time highs and has been trading sideways over the past week, albeit with some volatility. The market is aligned with its 50-day MA and 200-day MA in the middle of its recent trading range but is also sitting on a major pivot point.

The market may spend a few days within and around the range of its moving averages, however individual sectors and stocks could move in either direction. Soon enough, a large beta move is likely to emerge and shift the XJO 200 points higher or lower again over the course of a few days.

For those of you who are keen to keep unpicking this inflation story, the ABS published a slew of numbers this morning, including lending indicators and retail trade figures for March – which showed record sales for the month, with every state except SA noting improvements.

Retail sales have been picking up over the past few months, with trade lifting in November, January and February, and only the traditionally busy month of December recording a dip – likely caused by nervous shoppers hoping to avoid the Omicron COVID variant, which peaked in January.

A Deloitte report published earlier this year shows retailers are confident that shoppers will be coming back, but their priorities have altered during the pandemic with many prioritising ‘experiences’ over goods and products.

That’s certainly a trend worth keeping an eye on.

One investor looking for opportunities that benefit from inflation is Romano Sala Tenna, a senior portfolio manager at Katana Asset Management – one of Australia’s leading fund managers.

Romano will be joining us this Friday, 6th May, at 12pm (AEST) for The Insider: Meet the Fund Manager webcast, where he’ll provide insights into how Australia’s businesses are bracing for a potential economic downturn. He’ll also discuss some of the key stocks in Katana’s portfolio that fit into the fund manager’s GFC-defying, multi-style investment strategy. To join us for this session, click here.

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