Energy leads Friday's session: ASX up 3.2% over the week

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

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Energy leads, Consumer discretionary declines

The Australian sharemarket held its gains and finished Friday’s session on a high. The energy sector led the pack, followed by technology and materials, while consumer discretionary weighed.

Energy stocks were led by Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL), up 2.7 per cent to $31.37, while Santos (ASX:STO) rose 1.9 per cent to $7.54 and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) closed 1.6 per cent higher at $1.57.

Afterpay owner Block (ASX:SQ2) led the tech sector higher, up 7.2 per cent to $168.88, and was the second-best stock. As a side note, the company did not release any official company news today.

Heavyweight miners added to today’s gains, led by Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG), up 2.2 per cent to $18.57. Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) lifted 1.6 per cent to $110.34 and BHP Group (ASX:BHP) closed 1.3 per cent higher at $46.25.

Gold stocks were mixed with Northern Star (ASX:NST) up 1.4 per cent to $10.65 and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) up 0.5 per cent to $4.47, while Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) fell 0.8 per cent to $25.97.

Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR) closed 4.2 per cent lower to $3.17, which was a drag on the worst-performing sector, consumer discretionary. The inquiry into the casino by the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority began, with preliminary evidence suggesting that the Star Group hid $900 million in gaming transactions from banks disguised as hotel expenses to help high rollers gamble. All this comes out of the first day of public hearings and the inquiry into their licence.

Meanwhile, major banks finished higher, except Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC), down 0.1 per cent to $23.66. Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) rose 1.7 per cent to $194.80, while National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) lifted 0.2 per cent to $31.21, ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) added 0.2 per cent to $27.58 and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) closed 0.1 per cent higher at $106.29.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.6 per cent or 44 points higher at 7,294. Over the week, it closed 3.2 per cent or 231 points higher.

Company news

QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) appointed Yasmin Allen from both Cochlear and Santos, as a non-executive director for QBE following the retirement of two current directors John Green and Stephen Fitzgerald. John and Stephen will leave the company in May, while Yasmin will start on July 1, subject to shareholder approval. Shares rose 1.1 per cent to $11.03.

PolyNovo (ASX:PNV) completed due diligence for the $6.35 million sale of its Port Melbourne headquarters.The medical device company said it will leaseback the building for 10 years with two 5-year options, while $3 million will be used to reduce debt and the balance for working capital. Shares closed flat at $1.10.

The ACCC will not pursue enforcement action on Qube’s (ASX:QUB) acquisition of Newcastle Agri Terminal, but remains concerned with the supply chain for bulk grain export through the Port of Newcastle, and will continue to monitor developments. Qube completed the acquisition in September last year, before the ACCC was able to properly review the transaction, leading the Australian watchdog to launch an investigation the following month. Shares fell 0.3 per cent to $3.00.

Abacus Property (ASX:ABP) has raised $200 million via an institutional placement announced yesterday. Abacus issued around 59.2 million new new stapled securities at $3.38 per share. Shares closed 6 per cent lower at $3.34, and was the second-worst stock.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 191 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 29 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 123 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 11 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Energy, up 2.2 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Consumer Discretionary, down 0.8 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR), closing 7.8 per cent higher at $1.66. It was followed by shares in Block (ASX:SQ2) and Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Megaport (ASX:MP1), closing 8.1 per cent lower at $13.00. It was followed by shares in Abacus Property Group (ASX:ABP) and Mesoblast (ASX:MSB).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has gained 0.3 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 2 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has lost 0.2 per cent.

Wall Street

Over the last four trading days, the Dow Jones gained 4.5 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 4.7 per cent and the Nasdaq gained 5.7 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1933.69 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.0 per cent higher at US$146.90 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 3.04 per cent.
Light crude is trading $2.33 higher at US$103.98 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.81 US cents.
 

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