The Australian sharemarket finished Friday’s session eking out a minor rise, although still in the spotlight after inking in a fresh 13-month high this week, as strong economic data in Australia and in the U.S.
At the closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index eked a rise of +4.9 points, or +0.07%, to 7,063.5.
The broad All Ordinaries index added +8.3 points, or +0.11%, to 7,325.8.
However, for the week, the S&P/ASX 200 Index closed to a +68.3 points gain, or +1%, hitting a new post-pandemic high.
Tech stocks kept in the spotlight as the best-performing stocks, with Zip Co leading the charge, rising +12.9%, to $9.36 after its U.S. subsidiary Quadpay delivered record transaction volume, revenue and customer numbers over the third quarter, as US shoppers flocked to its lending app.
For the week, Buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay added +4.9%, to $127.39, accounting software provider Xero added +5.9%, $147.14, Altium advanced +8.4%, to $29.67, NEXTDC advanced +4.5%, to $11.90 and Appen climbed +3.1%, to $16.89.
Gold stocks were also firm, with the precious metal rising to its highest level since February 26 as bond yields fell.
Newcrest Mining climbed +3.24%, to $27.85, Northern Star Resources added +2.85%, to $11.20, Evolution Mining Ltd gained +4.3%, to $4.61.
Rio Tinto Limited rose +0.99% to $118.88, BHP Group added +0.51%, to $47.57 and Fortescue Metals Group fell -0.62% to $20.82.
Other mining stocks were also stronger. Pilbara Minerals added +12.1% to $1.30, Mineral Resources firmed +3.9%, to $42.79, and IGO climbed +5.7%, to $7.07 after it sold its stake in the Tropicana gold mine to Regis Resources for $903 million. Regis Resources fell -14.9%, to $2.74.
Real estate shares remained firm, with Charter Hall rose +2.39% to $13.69, Lendlease slid -0.68% to $13.21, and Goodman Group added +1.55% to $18.94.
Whitehaven Coal was among the market’s worst performers, tumbling -17.7%, to $1.49 after it downgraded its coal sales guidance by almost 4% on the back of geology problems at the Narrabri mine.
As for our oil and gas producers, Woodside Petroleum lost -1.15% to $24.07, while Oil Search fell -0.99%, to $4.01, Santos fell -0.42%, to $7.15, and Worley ended to a +0.19% gain of $10.77.
Origin Energy tumbled -9.7% to $4.28 as it downgraded its guidance for full-year profit in its struggling energy markets business after being hit by an adverse ruling on a gas price dispute.
Telstra ended flat to $3.43, while Woolworths rose +0.07%, to $42.04, Wesfarmers added +0.87%, to $55.64, QBE Insurance fell -1.41%, to $9.77, and Aristocrat Leisure slipped -0.13%, to $37.12.
The Financial sector was mixed, with Commonwealth Bank leading the “Fab Four” (banks) higher by +0.09%, to $87.99, while National Australia Bank ended down -0.45%, to $26.72, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group slid -0.35%, to $28.82, Westpac Banking Corp lost -0.71%, to $25.32 and Macquarie Group dropped -1.01% and settled at $156.25.
Travel and tourism companies rose with Helloworld ended flat to $2.09, Corporate Travel Management lost -0.58%, to $18.98, Webjet rose +0.38%, to $5.30, Flight Centre rose +0.23%, to $17.81 and Qantas lost -0.38% to $5.18.
Biotechnology giant CSL gained +0.29%, to $269.07, while ResMed lost -0.89%, to $26.59, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare rose +0.62%, to $30.79, while Cochlear lost -0.13%, to $223.69 and Mesoblast added +0.87%, to $2.32.
Our local currency, the Australian dollar, is currently buying US$0.7740 (as of writing).