Hopes of reopened Australia and a fresh start to the economy spurred Aussie shares onwards today.
This afternoon, Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined a three-step plan to get the economy back entire gear, starting with the reopening of 10-people venues like cafes, seated restaurants, and outdoor boot camps. Regional travel will also be allowed.
Stage two will involve lifting the restrictions on these venues to 20 people, meaning pubs can open their dining rooms but likely not their bars or dance floors.
The final stage will limit gatherings to 100 people, meaning the reopening of cinemas, gyms, clubs and work offices. At this stage, it’s likely some interstate travel restrictions will be lifted.
However, the implementation of each of these stages will be taken on a state-by-state basis; with states like Western Australia going seven days with zero new COVID-19 cases while the virus continues to spread in New South Wales, it’s likely some areas will get to stage three sooner than others.
In any case, the ASX 200 index bounced 0.50 per cent today to close at 5391.10 points, extending its weekly gain to 138.70 points.
The consumer discretionary sector took charge today and kicked the forward momentum into gear. Stocks that have suffered from the spread of the virus took well to the news of an economic reopening. Wesfarmers gained 2.88 per cent, Harvey Norman gained 6.69 per cent, and JB Hi-Fi gained 3.74 per cent.
Energy stocks had their own happy day as another bump in the price of oil sent our big producers upwards. Woodside gained 1.11 per cent, Santos 1.89 per cent, and Worley Parsons 1.06 per cent.
Similarly, our iron ore giants urged the materials sector to a green close. BHP gained 1.29 per cent, Rio Tinto 1.83 per cent, and Fortescue Metals a health 5.15 per cent.
Interestingly, gold stocks largely performed on par with the rest of the sector with the exception of heavyweight producer Newcrest Mining, which declined 0.83 per cent. Northern Star tacked on 1.48 per cent, Saracen gained 3.24 per cent, and Regis gained 2.59 per cent.
As for our heavily-weighted financials sector, a mixed day among our big four banks was offset by a strong performance from Macquarie Group. The investment banker gained 5.67 per cent. Meanwhile, Commonwealth Bank was the only green stock from our big banks, gaining 0.57 per cent.
NAB closed 0.86 per cent lower, ANZ 0.76 per cent lower, and Westpac 0.58 per cent lower.
The health care sector was the only major drag on the market today. Biotech giant CSL lost 2.19 per cent, with hearing aid specialist Cochlear close behind and down by 1.54 per cent. Ramsay Health Care lost 1.76 per cent.
Meanwhile, it was a happy day across the major Asian indexes today. When the ASX closed for the weekend, the Asia Dow was 1.80 per cent higher, the Hang Seng 1.08 per cent higher, and the Shanghai Composite 0.82 per cent higher. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was 2.56 per cent higher.
The Australian dollar is higher once more today, currently buying 65.29 US cents, 52.68 pence, and 12.11 South African Rand.