Energy stocks rally, Banks weigh: ASX closes 0.3% higher

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket recovered from its early fall and pushed higher in the afternoon session thanks to a boost in energy stocks while financials weighed.

Energy stocks soared as Santos (ASX:STO) jumped 6.2 per cent to $7.71, Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) rose 6.1 per cent to $30.44 and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) closed 4.2 per cent higher at $1.60.

Heavyweight miners added to today’s gains, led by Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) up 4.7 per cent to $18.59. Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) added 4.6 per cent to $123.26 and BHP Group (ASX:BHP) closed 3.8 per cent higher at $48.32.

Gold stocks finished higher as Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) rose 3.2 per cent to $4.22, Northern Star (ASX:NST) lifted 1.2 per cent to $10.14 and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) closed 1.1 per cent higher at $25.60.

Minerals Resources (ASX:MIN) appointed James McClements as its new non-executive chairman following the resignation of Peter Wade. Shares rose 0.9 per cent to $45.72.

Major banks weighed, led by ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) down 2.2 per cent to $25.61. Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) fell 1.9 per cent to $179.59, Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) declined 1.7 per cent to $22.58, National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) was down 1.3 per cent to $29.00 and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) closed 0.1 per cent lower at $94.70.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.3 per cent or 20 points higher at 7,117

Local economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the nation’s GDP figures for the December quarter, which estimates key economic flows in Australia.

The Australian economy rose 3.4 per cent, real net national disposable income rose 1.7 per cent, the terms of trade fell 5.1 per cent, and household saving ratio decreased to 13.6 per cent from 19.8 per cent.

Company news

Transurban (ASX:TCL) signed off on the 495 Express Lanes project with the Virginian Government. The US$660 million Northern Extension project aims to improve congestion in Greater Washinton and reduce local neighborhood traffic. Shares closed flat at $12.63.

Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX) has canceled the share purchase plan announced in January due to changing market conditions. The cancellation does not affect the recently completed share placement, which raised $175 million. Shares closed flat at $5.16.

Under a joint venture, Cimic’s (ASX:CIM) CPB Contractors has been selected to deliver the civil and alignment works for the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport rail link between Orchard Hills and the new Western Sydney Airport Station. Shares closed 0.1 per cent lower at $22.00.

Bass Oil (ASX:BAS) has entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement with a subsidiary of Beach Energy to acquire eight Cooper Basin tenements for $650,000. Shares closed flat at $0.0020.

Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG) has upgraded its earnings guidance for the year ending January 31 following a demand for Covid-19 related products. The company expects underlying EBITDA to be 10 to 15 per cent higher on the prior year, compared to the previous guidance provided last December of around 10 lower. Shares closed 1 per cent lower at $0.50.

Novonix (ASX:NVX) has welcomed founding chief executive officer from Virgin Unite Jean Oelwang to its board of directors. Shares closed 3.4 per cent lower at $5.24.


The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 126 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 15 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 62 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 43 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Energy, up 4.9 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Financials, down 1.4 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was PolyNovo (ASX:PNV), closing 7.3 per cent higher at $1.18. It was followed by shares in Santos (ASX:STO) and Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was PointsBet Holdings (ASX:PBH), closing 11.8 per cent lower at $3.68. It was followed by shares in Janus Henderson Group (ASX:JHG) and Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has lost 1.6 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost almost 1 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has lost 0.3 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1933.78 an ounce.
Iron ore is 3.8 per cent higher at US$144.45 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of almost 4 per cent.
Light crude is trading $4.95 higher at US$108.36 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.67 US cents.


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