<WIRE> Banks Offer Boost to Australian Shares; Investors Weigh US Inflation Print

Australian shares saw modest gains, largely driven by financial and real estate stocks, as traders evaluated the effect of a higher-than-anticipated U.S.

consumer inflation print on rate cut predictions.

The S&P/ASX 200 index concluded with a modest increase of 0.2% at 7,729.400 points.

Investors' optimism about a potential U.S.

rate cut in June remained undeterred despite Tuesday’s late data publication indicating U.S.

consumer prices, a primary inflation measuring metric, were slightly higher than expected.

The Market predilections for a rate cut in June currently hovers around 67%, slightly less than the 70% seen last week, referenced from the CME FedWatch Tool.

Luci Ellis, chief economist at Westpac, stated that most central banks in advanced economies are inclined to reduce rates, barring any sudden inflationary shocks, as they are running on a data-dependent mode.

Ellis anticipates a rate cut by the Australian central bank in September, followed by another in November.

In Sydney, National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB), ANZ Group (ASX:ANZ), and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX:WBC) contributed to a gain of 0.9% in financials, with advancements between 1.7% and 1.8%.

The real estate and consumer sectors rose by 1.04% and 0.1% respectively, with Goodman Group (ASX:GMG) surging 2.5% and Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) ascending 1.5%.

In contrast, the heavyweight mining sector fell 0.9% to its lowest level since October 23rd, due to the ongoing reduction in iron ore prices resulting from weakened Chinese demand.

Major losses occurred with Newmont Corp’s (ASX:NEM) local shares dipping by 3%, while iron ore miners Fortescue (ASX:FMG) and BHP Group (ASX:BHP) dropped 1% and 1.3% respectively.

Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) saw the sharpest increase among all shares, closing 6.1% higher after securing a A$550 million debt facility to augment its lithium project in Western Australia.

National Australia Bank is one of the four largest financial institutions in Australia in terms of market capitalisation, earnings and customers.

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