(Updates to close)
May 6 - Australian shares ended lower on Friday amid a
global sell-off with all sectors in red as renewed fears of a
faster rate-hike cycle kept risk appetite in check after the
country's central bank raised inflation forecasts drastically.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 2.2% at 7205.6, after
losing 3.1% in value this week to clock its worst week since
October 2020. The benchmark witnessed its worst day since Feb.
The Reserve Bank of Australia warned core inflation could
now hit 4.6% by December, a startling two percentage points
higher than its previous forecast made earlier this year.
Interest rate-sensitive technology stocks, which
tracked a tepid Wall Street session, slumped 4.5% to mark their
fifth straight weekly loss.
Sector heavyweights Xero and ASX-listed shares of
Block gave up 8.6% and 1.7%, respectively.
Traders are banking on central banks to control inflation
without overstepping on growth with most economic indicators at
extremes and beyond their control, J.P. Morgan global market
strategist Kerry Craig said, referring to the poor performances
Financials retreated 2%, delivering their worst week
since late February, with the "Big Four" banks slipping between
0.4% and 2%.
Macquarie tumbled 7.6% to its worst day since March
2020 after the financial giant flagged that earnings would
decline despite posting a record annual profit.
"In Australia, markets are pricing in on as many as 10 rate
hikes by the end of this year implying that cash rate would be
somewhere around 3% by 2023," CommSec market analyst Steven
The mining sub-index slid 2.1%, with heavyweights
BHP and Rio Tinto dropping 1.8% and 1.9%,
Biotech firm CSL, one of Australia's largest
companies by market value, lost 1.9% in value this week.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 1.2%
to 11609.38 and saw its worst week since early March.
(Reporting by Roushni Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry