The local bourse managed to stay on a positive streak throughout the day after a strong start at the open, easing slightly through the afternoon ahead of the RBS's interest rate decision which remained unchanged amid the current climate.
Tech stocks rallied and the big banks lifted Financials, while Retail managed to stay afloat, withstanding forced shutdowns for Melbourne's retailers. Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) and JB HI-FI (ASX:JBH) were among retailers announcing forced shutdowns of their bricks-and-mortar stores in Melbourne due to strict lockdown measures imposed by the Victorian Government.
The ASX closed positively at 1.9 per cent higher.
The S&P/ASX200 index
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 112 points higher to finish at 6,038.
Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 42 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a fall of 1 point.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a rise of 8 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 105 point rise tomorrow morning.
Local economic news
Retail turnover rose 2.7 per cent in June, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This followed a rise of 16.9 per cent in May, as retailers try to recover from trade restrictions.
Australia's trade surplus also rose during June, up to $8.2 billion, the ABS reported.
The Reserve Bank has kept interest rates unchanged at a historic low of 0.25 per cent during the pandemic as Melbourne is seeing through stage 4 restrictions to contain the second wave of the virus.
It's a buyer's market for homes as property value in Australia dropped 0.6 per cent, a third consecutive month of declines, according to a CoreLogic report released today. House prices in Melbourne dropped by 1.2 per cent and Sydney dropped by 0.9 per cent in the month of July, while Canberra and Adelaide were the only capital cities seeing an incline in dwelling values over the month.
Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) has been forced to shut its Target and Kmart stores in the Melbourne metropolitan region during the stage four restrictions in Victoria due to Covid. Bunnings stores in the Melbourne metropolitan region can remain open for trade customers, but will be closed for in-store retail customers. Officeworks will be open only to service business customers. All of the group's retail businesses will be able to continue online operations.
Afterpay (ASX:APT) has raised $136 million from retail investors from its share purchase plan. The company offered eligible shareholders in Australia and New Zealand the opportunity to apply for up to $20,000 worth of new shares in Afterpay, without incurring brokerage or other transaction costs.
Best and worst performers of the day
All sectors are in the green. Info Tech has rallied today, gaining 3.2 per cent by noon, while Utilities is the sector with the fewest gains, adding 0.8 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) rising 7 per cent to $4.12, followed by Aristocrat Leisure (ASX:ALL) and Afterpay (ASX:APT).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) dropping 3.1 per cent to $3.50, followed by shares in Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) and Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR).
Asian markets are all tracking higher: Japan’s Nikkei has added 1.7 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 1.9 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has added 0.6 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,974 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 4.9 higher at US$116.03.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 3.1 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.31 lower at US$40.70 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.31US cents.