A rocky morning gave way to a third straight day of gains as Australian investors responded positively to last night’s Federal Budget update.
Doubt was thrown across the session before open this morning after President Donald Trump tweeted that he would be stopping negotiation talks over fresh US stimulus until after the November election.
The news sent US markets sharply lower and has investors down under hovering their fingers over the “sell” button.
However, the Australian budget soon overshadowed the Trump woes and the benchmark ASX 200 index ended up tacking on 1.25 per cent by the end of the day, closing back in 6000-point territory for the first time in a month. The index closed at 6036.4 points.
All 11 market sectors closed green today except for materials, which just missed out.
The materials sector was down by as much as 1.6 per cent this morning, but pulled itself up by the bootstraps and touched green in the last hour of trade. The sector was looking to join the rest of the market in a green close until a small dip in the final minutes of today’s session which took it red by 0.14 per cent.
Our iron ore giants were mixed today, with BHP down by 1.1 per cent and Rio Tinto up by 0.05 per cent. Fortescue Metals just fell below the grey line and closed 0.06 per cent lower.
Similarly, the gold subsector showed some mixed closes. Sector leader Newcrest Mining lost 2.12 per cent and Evolution Mining lost 0.34 per cent. Meanwhile, Saracen and Northern Star rode the momentum of yesterday’s major merger and gained 3.85 per cent and 1.9 per cent, respectively.
Our big banks surged ahead today, with Westpac leading the pack and up 2.58 per cent at market close. The rest of the big four weren’t far behind: ANZ gained 2.35 per cent, Commonwealth Bank gained 2.15 per cent, and NAB gained 1.97 per cent. Investment banker Macquarie Group gained 2.85 per cent.
At the same time, consumer stocks soared. Our supermarket giants led the charge, with Woolworths up two per cent and Coles up 1.43 per cent. Metcash, which runs IGA, gained 3.25 per cent. On the discretionary side of things, retail conglomerate Wesfarmers gained 2.47 per cent, Domino’s Pizza gained 2.78 per cent, and JB Hi-Fi gained 3.64 per cent.
As for the tech sector, Afterpay gained 1.63 per cent, Xero gained 1.24 per cent, and NEXTDC gained 2.44 per cent.
Across the Pacific, it’s a mixed session across major Asian indexes. As the ASX closes for the day, the Asia Dow is up 0.53 per cent and the Hang Seng is up 0.58 per cent, but the Nikkei 225 is down 0.19 per cent.
The Australian dollar is slightly stronger the afternoon, currently buying 71.26 Us cents, 55.24 pence, and 11.85 South African Rand.
Today’s ups and downs
New Zealand-based explorer Siren Gold (ASX:SNG) is the latest stock to be welcomed by the ASX with open arms. Yesterday, fintech company Douugh (ASX:DOU) quadrupled on its first day on the market. Today, Siren debuted after a $10 million, 25 cent IPO, and promptly put on 80 per cent. The company is exploring an 815-square-kilometre tenement block in New Zealand’s Reefton Goldfield. Siren shares closed worth 45 cents each.
Meanwhile, shares in Emerge Gaming (ASX:EM1) slumped after the latest subscription numbers for its recently-launched MTN Arena mobile gaming tournament platform. After the first week of a major marketing campaign in August, 10,000 people had subscribed today the platform. Today, the company hit 25,000 subscriptions — an increase, to be sure, but perhaps not as much as what investors were hoping for. Shares in EM1 fell 8.7 per cent to close worth 4.2 cents each.