The share market built on last week’s gains after a record close on Wall Street fuelled a broad rally across regional markets.
The S&P/ASX 200 climbed 26 points or 0.35 per cent. Today’s rise was the index’s fifth in seven sessions as world markets continue to heal from the omicron scare.
Property, energy and mining companies led the advance. An earnings upgrade lifted Charter Hall to a record. Ramsay Health Care retreated after buying a UK mental health provider.
What moved the market
The post-omicron recovery resumed following a brief pause at the end of last week. Inspired by a record finish on the S&P 500 on Friday and well-received trading updates from the property sector, the ASX 200 reversed two days of declines.
Confidence was boosted by rising US equity futures and gains on Asian markets. The Asia Dow firmed 0.64 per cent. China’s Shanghai Composite added 1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 1.01 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei 0.84 per cent. S&P 500 futures climbed 17 points or 0.36 per cent.
Today’s rally followed a positive end to last week on Wall Street as American investors shrugged off the biggest annual increase in consumer prices in 39 years.
“Risk asset markets took Friday’s CPI report in their stride, the S&P500 ending the New York day up 1% to a new record closing high to be up 3.8% on the week, with the NASDAQ not far behind, up 0.7% on the day and 3.6% on the week,” NAB’s Head of FX Strategy Ray Attrill said.
The ASX 200 briefly surpassed its pre-omicron level last week before caution set in ahead of Friday night’s US inflation report and this week’s Federal Reserve policy update. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is expected to bring forward the end of its asset-buying program and flag rate increases next year.
“We expect the FOMC will announce a faster taper of $US25bn/mth from January. That would be consistent with the FOMC’s tapering ending in April 2022,” CommSec’s economics team told clients.
“The risk is an even faster taper of $30/bn given high and widespread underlying inflation. We also expect the median ‘dot plot’ will show the majority of members now expect two rates hikes in 2022.”
BHP climbed 2.7 per cent after Andrew Forrest’s Wyloo Metals trumped the Big Australian’s offer for Canadian nickel miner Noront Resources. The privately-owned Wyloo delivered what may prove a knockout blow by raising its offer for Noront from 70 Canadian cents to C$1.10.
The revised offer is a 47 per cent premium to BHP’s offer of 75 Canadian cents. Wyloo already owns 37.2 per cent of Noront’s listed capital and has said it will not support a rival bid.
A strong session for iron ore miners saw Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals firm 2.32 and 1.99 per cent, respectively. Champion Iron gained 5.41 per cent and Pilbara Minerals 3.85 per cent.
An earnings upgrade lifted Charter Hall Group 5.62 per cent to an all-time high. The company’s properties were independently assessed to have increased in value by $3.5 billion. Funds under management were raised to $61.3 billion, prompting the group to upgrade operating earnings per security guidance to no less than $1.05 per security.
Strong demand for industrial space helped Centuria Industrial REIT lease an additional 106,832 square metres this financial year. The increase produced a 10 per cent lift in rentals. The share price rose 0.77 per cent.
Brickworks climbed 2.68 per cent after announcing it anticipates record property earnings this half. The building products manufacturer expects property earnings to increase from $253 million in FY21 to $290-$310 million this half.
Childcare operator G8 Education rose 0.46 per cent on news calendar-year operating earnings and profit were running ahead of consensus estimates. Occupancy rates improved to 76.5 per cent, within 2.1 percentage points of CY19.
Aside from Charter Hall and Champion Iron, the session’s best performers were wealth manager Netwealth +6.2 per cent, gold miner St Barbara +5.69 per cent and mineral sands miner Iluka +5.31 per cent.
At the top end of the market, Goodman put on 1.22 per cent, Woodside 1.13 per cent and Macquarie Group 0.32 per cent.
Crown Resorts finished flat after warning staff shortages were impacting the reopening of its casino resorts. Full-year corporate costs were expected to be higher than last year at $130 million.
Ramsay Health Care will splash $1.4 billion to acquire UK mental healthcare provider Elysium from a private equity firm. The acquisition will be funded through existing debt facilities. Elysium has a long relationship with the UK’s National Health Service.
“This is an excellent opportunity for Ramsay to expand its successful health care services platform in the UK through the acquisition of an established and reputable business, with a strong track record of growth and a robust pipeline of development opportunities,” Managing Director and CEO Craig McNally said. The share price slipped 0.94 per cent.
CSL eased 0.35 per cent after confirming media reports it is in talks to buy Swiss giant Vifor Pharma. The company said there was no certainty any transaction would result.
A guidance upgrade failed to lift Centuria Office REIT. The share price dipped 1.7 per cent after the trust raised its full-year funds-from-operations outlook from 18 cents per unit for 18.3 cpu. The trust reaffirmed distribution guidance of 16.6 cpu, a yield of 7.1 per cent.
Insurers were among today’s worst performers following a broker downgrade for IAG. UBS cut its rating on IAG to ‘Sell’. The insurer’s shares sank 3.64 per cent to a nine-year low. QBE lost 3.26 per cent and Suncorp 1.11 per cent.
Explosives manufacturer Orica sagged 0.94 per cent after announcing the sale of its Minova business to a European investment firm for $180 million. The sale is part of the company’s strategy of offloading non-core assets.
Oil continued to shake off omicron demand worries. Brent crude rallied 93 US cents or 1.24 per cent to US$76.08 a barrel.
Gold bounced US$2 or 0.1 per cent to US$1,786.80 an ounce.
The dollar rose 0.15 per cent to 71.75 US cents.