ASX keeps its head above water despite lockdown fears

July 16, 2021 - 1 week ago
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It has been a stop-start week for the Australian share market as takeover action, and unexpectedly strong economic data helped distract investors from lockdowns in Victoria and Greater Sydney.

At the closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose +12.2 points, or +0.17%, to 7,348.1, while the All Ordinaries added +14.1 points, or +0.19%, to 7,630.7.

Apart from Energy, Utilities and Telecommunication, eight sectors lifted the ASX out of the bearish trenches.

It is the first weekly gain in a month, with the ASX wrapping the weekly session in positive territory, having slipped twice in the red out of five trading days.

Soft leads from Wall Street and Victoria’s return to lock down and the extension of NSW COVID-19 restrictions did not deter the ASX bulls.

In economic news, better-than-expected jobs data released on Thursday confirmed the recovery remained on track as the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in a decade.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Australian June unemployment rate dropped from 5.1% to 4.9%.

Almost 30,000 jobs were created in June, its lowest level in more than a decade (December 2010).

Materials were mixed, with BHP Group leading the titans higher after climbing +0.66%, to $51.87, while Fortescue Metals Group added +0.23%, to $25.78, while Rio Tinto lost -0.41% to $130.60.

Gold stocks were weaker, with Newcrest Mining falling -0.41% to $26.90, Northern Star Resources lost -1.11% to $10.73, and Evolution Mining Ltd plummeted -5.25% to $4.69.

The Financial sector sank into the red, with Westpac Banking Corp leading the “Fab Four” (banks) lower after falling -0.32%, to $24.91.

Meanwhile, the National Australia Bank ended down -0.23%, to $25.96, Commonwealth Bank dropped -0.12%, to $98.19, and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group lost -0.22%, to $27.43, Macquarie Group added +1.16% and settled at $155.49.

Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths were mixed among the consumer staples stocks with Coles climbing +0.29%, to $17.05, while its rival Woolworths lost -0.23%, to $38.24, Endeavour rose +1.74% to $6.45.

E-commerce group Kogan ended higher after climbing +1.75% to $11.61, and Seek lost -1.98% to $31.61.

Meanwhile, JB Hi-Fi rose +0.13% to $47.98, while Telstra lost -0.26% to $3.77, while Wesfarmers rose +0.87%, to $59.12, QBE Insurance added +0.28%, to $10.72, and Aristocrat Leisure rose +0.19%, to $42.36.

Biotechnology giant CSL rose +0.93%, to $277.72, while ResMed gained +0.9%, to $33.70, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare added +0.14%, to $28.72, while Cochlear slid -0.29%, to $239.92 and Mesoblast fell -4.03%, to $1.905.

Australian Pharmaceutical Industries soared +21.7%, to $1.40 after receiving a $687 million takeover offer from Wesfarmers.

Washington H. Soul Pattinson granted Wesfarmers a call option over its 19.3% stake.

In technology, Buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay fell -1.29%, to $103.21, accounting software provider Xero added +2.04%, to $137.20, Altium lost -2.77%, to $36.55, Megaport rose +0.12%, to $16.14, NEXTDC rose +4.05%, to $12.58, EML rose +2.96%, to $3.83 and Zip Co added +2.75%, to $7.10.

As for our oil and gas producers, Woodside Petroleum sank -0.91% to $22.76, while Oil Search ended down -0.51%, to $3.87, Santos lost -0.57%, to $7.02, Beach Energy rose +0.36% to $1.29, and Worley slid -0.26%, to $11.45.

Travel stocks were firmer, with Sydney Airport rose +1.28%, to $7.91, Corporate Travel Management rose +0.53%, to $20.68, Flight Centre rose +1.02%, to $14.86, and Webjet added +1.66% to $4.91.

Spark Infrastructure soared +17.4%, to $2.63 after opening the door to KKR and a major Canadian pension fund to improve on a $5 billion cash takeover bid.

Meanwhile, our local currency, the Australian dollar, is currently buying US$0.7420 (as of writing).

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