The strong price of iron ore and easing lockdown restrictions across the country kept Aussie investors distracted from events in the US today.
The outlook was bleak when the market opened this morning as riots raged across the States over the weekend following the death of George Floyd. Rioters are looting and burning down buildings in several states, much to the dismay of small business owners and retailers.
As such, when the Australian share market opened for business today, our benchmark ASX 200 index quickly shaved off over 50 points in the first few minutes of trade.
However, our big miners helped the index claw back into green territory, and by market close, the ASX 200 was 1.10 per cent higher. The index closed at 5819.20 points, extending last week’s healthy gains.
A surge in the price of iron ore underpinned the gains as our big producers carried the materials sector. BHP gained 3.09 per cent and Rio Tinto 4.10 per cent, while Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals tacked on a healthy 6.40 per cent.
Our gold stocks worked in harmony with the wider materials sector today, with each of our top 10 gold producers by market cap closing green. St Barbara led the gains with a 4.17 per cent incline. Evolution Mining gained 3.28 per cent, Newcrest 2.75 per cent, and Northern Star 2.5 per cent.
The health care sector added its own weight to the rebound, led by biotech giant CSL, which gained 3.06 per cent. Cochlear gained 0.52 per cent, while Ramsay Health Care missed out and lost 0.57 per cent.
Meanwhile, the financials sector only just managed to hold on to the green as our big four closed marginally higher. ANZ gained 0.89 per cent and Westpac 0.81 per cent, while NAB and Commonwealth Bank gained 0.79 per cent and 0.24 per cent, respectively.
Energy stocks had their own happy day, led by Origin’s 3.23 per cent gain. Santos gained 2.61 per cent, Oil Search gained 2.01 per cent, and Woodside gained 1.15 per cent.
Still, it was green all around Asian markets after President Trump’s retaliation against China’s new sedition laws was not as severe as investors were expecting. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 3.26 per cent higher when the ASX closed. At the same time, the Asia Dow was 2.02 per cent higher and the Nikkei 225 was 0.84 per cent higher.
The Aussie dollar is stronger today, currently worth 67.53 US cents, 54.42 pence, and 11.77 South African Rand.
Today’s ups and downs
Fund manager OneVue (ASX:OVH) surged ahead today after receiving a surprise takeover offer from financial market software specialist Iress (ASX:IRE). Iress is offering 40 cents per share to take full control of OneVue, valuing the deal at $107 million. OneVue directors unanimously recommended shareholders vote “yes”. OVH shares gained 56.25 per cent today to close worth 38 cents each.
Meanwhile, Vicinity Centres (ASX:VCX) is expected to drop upon coming out of its trading halt after announcing a $1.4 billion capital raising package. The company will be raising the new funds through a $1.2 billion share placement and $200 million share purchase plan with new shares priced at $1.48. Vicinity said it needs the money to strengthen its balance sheet and has made the call to scrap its end-of-year distribution. Shares last traded on Friday for $1.61 each.