The Australian share market has ended Wednesday marginally higher, as energy stocks climbed to their most substantial level since March as oil rose for a seventh consecutive day after an industry report showed a further drop in inventories.
At the closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index eked out +7.50 points, or +0.11%, to 6,686.60, while the All Ordinaries rose +14.80 points, or +0.21% to settle at 6,953.90.
Oil Search rose +6.2%, to $4.44, Woodside Petroleum surged +5.4%, to $26.68, Santos added +3.9%, to $7.51, Origin Energy climbed +3%, to $5.16 and Beach Energy gained +4.2%, to $2.00.
Our major local miners managed to get back on the bullish path (except for Rio), with BHP leading the titans higher after rising +0.48% to $46.00, while Fortescue Metals Group added +0.16%, to $25.17, South32 rose +3.8%, to $2.71, Mineral Resources eked out +0.05%, to $38.90; meanwhile, Rio Tinto dropped -0.55% to $120.74.
The Financial sector once again just kept above the waterline with Westpac Banking Corp leading the “Fab Four” (banks) higher by +0.54%, to $20.60, with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group adding +0.46%, to $24.16, Commonwealth Bank gained +0.1%, to $85.97, National Australia Bank eked out +0.09%, to $23.48 and Macquarie Group fell -1.32% and settled at $136.96.
Retailers were firmer with Kogan.com climbing +3.5%, to $20.32, Super Retail Group rose +3.7%, to $11.99, and Harvey Norman added +4.2%, to $5.20.
Biotechnology giant CSL lost -0.74% to $271.04, while ResMed fell -1.62% to $27.70, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare rose +0.13% to $29.78, while Cochlear gained +0.17% to $180.69, while Mesoblast plummeted -6.15% to $2.44.
Woolworths declined -1.5%, to $39.31, while rival Coles Group dipped -2.4%, to $17.96.
Transurban slid -1.7%, to $12.73, Goodman Group dropped -1.6%, to $17.62.
Iluka Resources climbed +4.7%, to $6.91 after Goldman Sachs increased its price target by 22 per cent, saying the construction of a rare earths refinery would lift the value of Iluka’s Eneabba and Wimmera projects to about $1.2 billion.
Buy now, pay later Afterpay plummeted -1.42%, to $110.26, WiseTech rose +0.14%, to $27.88, Computershare ended flat at $14.10, Xero fell -1.36%, to $130.96.
Property stocks also came under fire with Growthpoint Properties falling -2.13%, to $3.21, Mirvac Group lost -1.6%, to $2.50 and Lendlease slid -2.9%, to $12.90.
Travel stocks kept above the waterline with Webjet rising +0.84%, to $4.82 and Flight Centre added +0.73%, to $15.17.
In economic data release, according to the Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the number of job vacancies in Australia surged to 254,000 in the November quarter, in the latest sign that Australia’s economy is recovering quickly from COVID-19.
Meanwhile, our local currency, the Australian dollar is currently buying US$0.7744 (as of writing).