Information technology sector slides 3%: ASX closes 1.6% higher

Market Reports

by Melissa Darmawan

It has been a terrific day of trade for the Australian share market. After opening modestly higher, the ASX 200 shot up in the first 10 minutes of trade, then gained momentum at a steady pace to close 1.6 per cent higher. The Energy and Materials sectors rallied over 4 per cent and tech sunk over 3 per cent today after the outcome of the Senate seats in Georgia was announced. The Democrats won both seats securing the balance of power in the US Senate.

The S&P/ASX200 index

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 105 points higher to finish at 6,712.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 118 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 18 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a lift of 85 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 104 point rise tomorrow morning.

Economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released housing data for the month of November. Total dwelling approvals climbed 2.6 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms. Private sector house approvals gained for the fifth consecutive month, up 6.1 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms.

The ABS also released data on Australia’s international trade in goods and services for the month of November. The balance on goods and services surplus came in lower than expected, decreasing in November in seasonally adjusted terms. Imports were up 10 per cent. Exports rose 3 per cent.

Broker moves

Citi rates Fineos (ASX:FCL) as a Buy, with a price target of $4.60. Citi has initiated coverage on the company. It believes Fineos is poised to expand its share of the life, accident & health insurance industry. Citi notes that the cloud service company has a larger exposure to professional services compared to its peers, with the stock trading at a 55 per cent discount compared to its competitors. Shares in Fineos (ASX:FCL) closed 3.4 per cent higher at $3.65.

Company news

Litigation funder, Omni Bridgeway (ASX:OBL) received some sour news today about one of the litigations it’s funding in the United States. The claimant it funded received an unfavourable summary judgment. Omni Bridgeway had invested US$8 million in the litigation. It expects the claimant to appeal. An appeal will involve a three-judge panel who would reconsider the matter without taking the first instance findings into account. Shares in Omni Bridgeway (ASX:OBL) closed 0.5 per cent lower at $4.43.

Altearity Therapeutics (ASX:ATH) has appointed Dr David Stamler as chief executive officer to start today.

Pharmaceutical giant, Mayne Pharma (ASX:MYX) has launched a new contraceptive tablet in the US.

Payment solution provider, Tyro Payments (ASX:TYR) is experiencing a terminal connectivity issue with a number of its EFTPOS terminals. As a result, transaction volumes have dropped around 5 per cent since last Tuesday.

Bod Australia (ASX:BDA) has seen sales shoot up 91 per cent in the second half, compared to the first half of the 2020 calendar year.

IPOs

Torrens Mining (ASX:TRN) started trading today. The mining exploration company floated with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.32 and closed at $0.295.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was energy adding 4.5 per cent while the worst performing sector was information technology shedding almost 3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), rising 8.6 per cent higher to close at $125.66. Shares in Janus Henderson Group (ASX:JHG) and Santos (ASX:STO) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Xero (ASX:XRO), dropping 5.1 per cent to close at $140.53. Shares in Charter Hall (ASX:CHC) and Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has gained 1.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.4 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,918 an ounce.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise 2.5 per cent.
Light crude has gained US$0.10 at US$48.92 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.90 US cents.

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