The Australian sharemarket managed to eke out a gain after a choppy session rising for its sixth straight day, lifted by gains in miners and banks offsetting losses in technology names.
The thin volume exacerbated the volatile performance on the local bourse with muted moves across the sectors. There was a mixed finish with five sectors advancing to six sectors declining. Utilities led the losses falling 0.9 per cent, followed by technology, down 0.6 per cent, and energy. Communication services led the gains adding 0.5 per cent followed by materials, and financials.
Magellan Financial (ASX:MFG)
notched the best performer of the session rallying 3.7 per cent higher. The company has been clawing back its losses after the loss of its biggest investment mandate. Since then, chief investment officer and chairman Hamish Douglass reassured investors through a video interview, MorningStar analysts released a note citing the strength of its investing calibre, while Zenith Investment Partners reiterated its confidence in the company.
In other financial news, Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ)
shares fell 0.4 per cent to $8.20 after the company denied speculation around a possible takeover of buy now, pay later firm Humm Group (ASX:HUM)
. Shares in Humm Group (ASX:HUM)
surged 5.1 per cent to 93.5 cents.
Other buy now, pay later stocks weren’t as strong, Afterpay (ASX:APT)
fell 3 per cent to $82.50 while Zip Co (ASX:Z1P)
closed 1.8 per cent lower to $4.31.
Investors also digested the change in isolation rules to curb the surge in Omicron cases. The national cabinet has agreed on a federal definition for a close contact of a Covid-19 case to mean someone who has spent four hours or more with a confirmed case in a household or household-like setting. Those contacts would be required to isolate for seven days, and leave after receiving a negative rapid antigen test with the new definition slated to come into effect at midnight tonight in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and the ACT.
Travel stocks closed lower with Qantas (ASX:QAN)
closing at session lows, down 0.8 per cent in tandem with Webjet (ASX:WEB)
, while Flight Centre (ASX:FLT)
lost 0.6 per cent.
The iron ore miners closed mixed with Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG)
down 0.7 per cent lower wiping almost two day’s worth of gains, BHP (ASX:BHP)
was the best performer adding 0.9 per cent while Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO)
closed 0.8 per cent higher.
Oil players fell despite crude oil prices moved higher after the Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude oil inventories fell more than expected last week. Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL)
trading 0.4 per cent lower while Santos (ASX:STO)
fell 0.3 per cent.
Gold miners fell after the price of precious metal softened with Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN)
down 1.2 per cent while Northern Star (ASX:NST)
closed 1.1 per cent lower.
Investors are watching the countdown to the closing bell as stocks on the Shanghai Composite rally amid expectations of further steps to bolster economic growth. However, US futures are looking less optimistic with Wall St slated to open lower giving the Dow and S&P 500 a breather after its stellar performance. Tomorrow is the last trading day of this year closing at 2.10pm AEST.
At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.1 per cent or 4 points higher at 7,513.Company news
Billionaire Andrew Forrest splurged over $108 million to increase his stake in Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA)
to 6.6 per cent. His holding company, Tattarang AgriFood Investments snapped up more than 20 million shares in a three-week period from the start of November. Shares closed 3.2 per cent higher at $5.50.
Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR)
has received the nod from the Spanish competition authorities on its $2.6 billion takeover of a copper mining complex, MATSA. The competition authorities waved through its two approvals with the transaction to complete by the end of January next year. Shares closed 0.9 per cent higher at $6.65.
Meanwhile, science and device company Trajan Group (ASX:TRJ)
celebrated the completion of its acquisition of California-based Neoteryx, a leader in blood micro sampling devices. Shares closed 0.8 per cent lower at $3.94.Futures
The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 9 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 1 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 3 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 16 points when the market next opens.Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector was communication services adding 0.5 per cent while the worst-performing sector was utilities, down 0.9 per cent.
The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG)
closing 3.7 per cent higher at $21.72, followed by shares in Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA)
, and Life360 (ASX:360)
The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Imugene (ASX:IMU)
closing 8.1 per cent lower at $0.40, followed by shares in IDP Education (ASX:IEL)
, and Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS)
Japan's Nikkei has lost 0.2 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 0.2 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 0.8 per cent.Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1800.20 an ounce.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 2.86 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.16 higher at US$76.72 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.56 US cents.