Shares to watch if inflation remains high


With the latest inflation figures coming in higher than expected this week, the RBA has warned that it does not foresee any rate cuts until the end of 2025.

This is unwelcome news for Australians struggling with the rising cost of living. With no immediate relief from the RBA in sight, it might be time for Australians to shift their mindset and explore ways to benefit from the inflationary environment.

Conventional wisdom suggests that you should invest in stocks in the financial, materials, or energy sectors during inflationary periods.

Shares to watch if inflation remains high

However, while these sectors have historically performed well during times of inflation, both the energy and materials sectors experienced significant declines in 2011 and 2014, which were the previous two times that CPI was at or above the 3% threshold.

Financials also saw a decline in 2011 but improved in 2014.

Given that the traditional sectors might not be the best investment during inflation, where should you look? The key is to identify companies that directly benefit from rising interest rates.

One such company is Computershare, which holds around $25 billion in cash on behalf of clients. This means that every 1% increase in the interest rate translates to an additional $250 million in earnings for Computershare.

Historically, each time the RBA has begun to raise rates, as it did in 2009, CPU's share price found a long-term low and then rose strongly. With the potential for rates to increase, CPU is a company worth serious consideration to combat inflation.

Another company to consider is EML Payments. EML holds $2 billion in customer funds, so every 1% rise in interest rates generates an additional $20 million in earnings. Like CPU, EML's share price has increased with interest rate changes.

For example, EML's share price reached its all-time low just before interest rates started to rise in 2009, with the stock soaring more than 33,000% to its all-time high in 2021. Since peaking, the share price has fallen by more than 90%, coinciding with a period of falling interest rates.

However, the share price has been rising again since October 2022, which is intriguing because the RBA started raising rates in June 2022 after years of consistent rate cuts. So, if the RBA continues to raise rates, EML could present a rare opportunity to pick up a stock with huge upside potential at its current price level.

What are the best and worst-performing sectors this week?

The best-performing sectors include Real Estate, up just under half a per cent, followed by Communication Services and Consumer Discretionary, down just under half a per cent.

The worst-performing sectors include Utilities, down more than 3%, followed by Energy and Materials, down more than 2%.

The best-performing stocks in the ASX top 100 include NIB Holdings, up more than 4%, followed by Pro Medicus and Domino's Pizza, both up more than 3%.

The worst-performing stocks include Fortescue Metals Group, down more than 7%, followed by Liontown resources, down more than 6% and Iluka Resources, down more than 5%.

What's next for the Australian stock market?

Sellers have taken control this week, with the All-Ordinaries index dropping more than one%. Interestingly, the market is now back at the crucial 7900-point level.

This level has proven to be a strong support level on three separate occasions this year, where the buyers have stepped in to prevent further declines leading to a gain of around 3% each time the market dipped.

What's exciting is that with prices at the 7900-point level, we are at an inflection point in the market with a clear scenario ahead.

If buyers remain consistent, we should soon see prices begin to rise from this level, potentially pushing the market back up to test the previous all-time high of 8167 points.

However, if the 7900 support level fails, it will introduce a new dynamic we haven't seen this year, offering insight into what may happen in June.

In my previous report, I mentioned the possibility of the market hitting a mid-year low in June. This week has increased that likelihood, especially since June is historically a down month for the All Ordinaries Index.

For the market to confirm a mid-year low in June, it would need to break below the April low of 7743 points.

A decline in June would also offer traders and investors, who thought they had missed the mid-year buying opportunity, a renewed chance to enter the market.

This is exciting news, as this opportunity seemed unlikely two weeks ago, and the outlook is now clearer than it has been for some weeks. Therefore, I encourage investors to be prepared to act at the first sign of confirmation.

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Dale Gillham is chief investment analyst at Wealth Within Limited (AFSL 226347). He also serves as the head trainer at the Wealth Within Institute (RTO 21917). He has more than three decades of experience in the investment industry, and is the author of How to Beat the Managed Funds by 20%, Dale's qualifications include an Advanced Diploma and a Diploma of Share Trading and Investment. He co-hosts the Talking Wealth Podcast, and his work has appeared in The Australian Financial Review, New York Business Journal, Wall Street Select and more.