The Australian sharemarket rallied for its second straight day notching its highest point in a month as hopes of a ceasefire in Ukraine buoyed sentiment, while the expected US interest rate hike and signs of a tight local labour market pulled the market higher.
Technology names staged their advance for the second day, winning the best performing sector of the session with the help of Block (ASX:SQ2)
, surging over 10 per cent to $157.50 while PolyNovo (ASX:PNV)
rose over 8 per cent to $1.11 in the healthcare space. Meanwhile PointsBet (ASX:PBH)
soared 10.3 per cent as the biggest gainer.
Elsewhere, Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG)
rallied for its second straight day, up 6.6 per cent to $15.35 as investors continued to mull on the news yesterday, flagging a buyback program.
Across the miners, Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG)
led the circle up 4.4 per cent to $18.17, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO)
jumped 1.6 per cent per cent to $108.59, while BHP added 1.1 per cent to $45.68 supported by rising iron ore and copper prices as Beijing and a panel of monetary authorities pledged that they would help stimulate the economy and support the sharemarket.
Australia’s futures exchange suffered an outage, leaving investors closed out from the futures and options markets after a docket of significant monetary and commodity announcements, putting more pressure on the ASX after investor’s renewed frustration reminded of a similar outage shy of two years ago.
The ASX 24 is different from the ASX 200 as it allows investors to trade futures and options for equities, agriculture, energy, and interest rates versus trading shares in companies. Trading resumed around 1.40pm with the exchange operator reassuring traders that the platform was “fully operational, all contracts are open and ASX is operating as normal”, blaming a “hardware fault, which has been resolved”.
Meanwhile, the short-lived rally of the nickel trade on the London Metal’s Exchange continued after the price limit was increased from 5 to 8 per cent. Despite this, Nickel Mines (ASX:NIC)
rose 5 per cent to $1.26 while Poseidon Nickels (ASX:POS)
jumped 9.2 per cent to 9.5 cents after being a beneficiary of the Federal Government’s latest initiative. The miner unveiled its $119.6 million grant with partnership with Pure Battery Technologies from the Australian Government to develop its proposed battery material refinery hub.
Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR)
was the laggard, falling 3.3 per cent to $1.62, while Graincorp (ASX:GNC)
rebounded by 2.8 per cent to $8.45 after heavy losses earlier in the session.
The Australian dollar is sitting above 73 US cents after the nation added 77,439 jobs more than the 37,000 expected, rising for its fourth month in a row. The jobless rate improved to 4 per cent in February from 4.2 per cent the month before, coming in better than expected while the participation rate rose to 66.4 per cent, a new record high since March 2021, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Given that the missing piece to the puzzle around raising the Reserve Bank's guidance on its cash rate is wages growth and inflation sitting sustainably, the figures will provide monetary authorities optimism that wages growth is poised to rise, opening the pathway to normalisation.
Traders now brace themselves for another potential rate hike as they look to the Bank of England’s interest rate decision.
At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 1.1 per cent or 76 points higher at 7,251.Futures
The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 41 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 5 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 10 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 9 points when the market next opens.Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector was information technology, up 3.6 per cent. The worst-performing sector was utilities, down 0.6 per cent.
The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was PointsBet Holdings (ASX:PBH)
, closing 10.3 per cent higher at $3.85. It was followed by shares in Block (ASX:SQ2)
and Zip Co (ASX:Z1P)
The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR)
, closing 3.3 per cent lower at $1.62. It was followed by shares in GrainCorp (ASX:GNC)
and Domino Pizza Enterprises (ASX:DMP)
Japan's Nikkei has gained 3.4 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 5.6 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 2.1 per cent.Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,935.61 an ounce.
Iron ore is 7.3 per cent higher at US$145.45 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 4.3 per cent.
Light crude is trading $1.74 higher at US$95.33 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.08 US cents.