ASX up for fourth straight day

The Australian Sharemarket was for fourth straight day with 8 of 11 sectors finishing in the green at the closing bell. Picture: NCA Newswire/ Gaye Gerard

Despite remaining largely flat over the course of trading, the Australian share market edged into the green for the fourth day in a row on Thursday.

The S&P/ASX200 closed 7.6 point higher, up 0.1 per cent, to 7305.3 points at the closing bell.

The All Ordinaries had a stronger performance, up 0.15 per cent or 11 points to close at 7.517.8 points. But despite the increase, the benchmark still ended 1.4 per cent lower over August.

Eight of the 11 sectors finished in the green, led by telecommunications, with shares in Telstra, TPG and Carsales all rising by more than 1 per cent.

The local sharemarket was largely flat, closing just 0.1 per cent higher. Picture: NCA Newswire/ Gaye Gerard

Energy was the weakest performer, dropping 2 per cent. Shares in Whitehaven Coal and Woodside fell 9 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively, after they traded ex-dividend on Thursday.

Fresh Chinese manufacturing data failed to lift the local share market after it showed factory activity shrank for a fifth consecutive month.

The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index came in at 49.7 in August, according to data released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

With reporting season drawing to a close on Thursday, Australia’s largest white goods and home retailer, Harvey Norman, saw its net profit for fiscal year 2023 slump by over a third to $539.5m. However, the result met its June guidance, resulting in the retailer gaining 5.2 per cent.

While telecommunications stocks performed strongly, the energy sector was down 2 per cent. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dylan Coker

Qantas shares fell 3.2 per cent on the news that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched legal action over allegations that it engaged in false, misleading or deceptive conduct by continuing to sell tickets for more than 8000 flights it had already cancelled.

Separately, Australia Post announced it had recorded its first loss since 2015 after recording a $200m loss for the 12 months to June 2023.

The government enterprise continues to be dragged down by losses in its letter business, which lost $384m.

Personal consumption expenditures price index and non-farm payrolls data are due from the US on Friday local time.