Australia shares rise on rate cut hopes, Unemployment higher than expected

Australian shares climbed on Thursday after weaker than expected jobs data raised expectations for a central bank rate cut

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.01$ at time of writing, rising as much as 0.3% in previous trade.

It comes after Australian stocks rose on Wednesday after wage growth data showed Q1 stagnated, fuelling market expectations for Reserve Bank of Australia rate cut.

Weak jobs data

Unemployment rose according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data. April unemployment jumped to 5.2% from 5.9%, higher than expectations of 5.1%.

ABS Chief Economist Bruce Hockman said: ‘The unemployment rate remained at 5.1 per cent for a second month, 0.4 percentage points lower than the same time last year.’

ABS data showed, trend monthly employment increased by around 21,000 persons. Full-time employment increased by 15,000 persons and part-time employment increased by 6,000 persons.

‘The rise in employment over the past year was supported by an increase of around 260,000 full-time and 50,000 part-time employed persons,’ Mr Hockman said.

The trend monthly hours worked increased by 0.3% in April 2019 and by 2.8% over the past year.

Analysts say the jobs data supported expectations for a central bank rate cut, although broader weakness in regional markets capped gains.

Australian stocks

Energy stocks surged as much as 1.7%, on the back of rising oil prices.

Meanwhile, Origin Energy Ltd and Santos Ltd rose as much as 2.8% and 2.1%, with Woodside Petroleum Ltdput on 1.2%.

Miners also rose, boosted by gold stocks. Top gold miner Newcrest Mining rose 1% while Northern Star Resources gained 1.1% .

Financial stocks slumped, after Westpac Banking Corp tumbled as much as 4.7% to a one-month low as shares traded ex-dividend.

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