Upbeat ASX on track to stop losing streak
An upbeat ASX could give investors a first day of gains this week as the market finally rebounded from days of rate rise gloom.
The market was higher by about one per cent on Friday despite the main Wall Street indices closing lower overnight.
All ASX share categories were higher. This is a welcome change for investors who this week watched shares tumble due to the US Federal Reserve confirming rates may rise as early as March, and higher Australian inflation data.
Healthcare shares were best and higher by 2.4 per cent. The chief catalyst was a rise in CSL of almost three per cent to $25.67.
Next best were industrials and the consumer categories. Each gained 1.7 per cent.
The major categories of materials and financials rose by less than one per cent.
Energy shares gained 0.5 per cent. Russia’s possible invasion of Ukraine and the consequences for oil supply stoked a rise of two per cent on Thursday.
The US and allies have urged Russia to backdown from gathering troops on the border.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 70.2 points, or 1.02 per cent, to 6908.5 points at 1200 AEDT.
The All Ordinaries index was higher by 70.4 points, or 0.98 per cent, to 7184.9 points.
In Australia, the Reserve Bank’s first meeting of the year on Tuesday will soon be on investors’ minds.
Analysts have tipped the central bank will raise rates this year following higher inflation data this week.
In company news, sales of ventilators for coronavirus patients helped ResMed’s second-quarter revenue rise 12 per cent.
The company said there had been greater demand for its sleep and respiratory care devices, helped by a competitor’s product recall.
Expenses rose, however. Employee-related costs were the main reason for a spending increase of 10 per cent.
ResMed was little changed at $31.43.
Sports betting operator PointsBet was a market loser despite second-quarter turnover and win percentages climbing.
In Australia, the company spent $22.6 million on marketing and gained 15 per cent more new customers.
PointsBet was down 6.65 per cent to $4.70.
The big banks were mixed. Westpac was best and gained one per cent to $20.36. NAB was worst and lost 0.73 per cent to $27.05.
In mining, Rio Tinto was among the best and rose 2.86 per cent to $112.42. BHP gained 1.75 per cent to $46.47. Fortescue added about one per cent to $19.67.
Synlait Milk raised its forecast milk price as demand for dairy products outstrips supply in some regions.
The company said the coronavirus was challenging supply chains and strong inflation was lifting production costs.
Synlait raised its forecast from $NZ8.00 per kilo of milk solids to $NZ9.25kg.
Synlait was up about three per cent to $3.00.
The Australian dollar was buying 70.36 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 70.71 US cents at Thursday’s close.
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