Green US futures and hopes of a recovering economy pushed Aussie shares higher for the second time this week.
Our benchmark ASX 200 index flexed another triple-digit gain, closing 2.93 per cent higher at 5780 points. The broader All Ordinaries index posted similar gains, rising 2.79 per cent to close at 5889.90 points.
Interestingly, today’s gains came despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison ruling out the possibility of a JobKeeper and JobSeeker extension. The Prime Minister said the government support measures need to be temporary, but highlighted a new ‘JobMaker’ plan to overhaul the $7.7 billion training sector in support of new post-COVID jobs.
While the lack of an extension for the stimulus measures means less money flowing through the economy, it also means our coronavirus woes are subsiding. With Dow Jones futures up 2.09 per cent and S&P 500 futures up 1.93 per cent at market close, all 11 sectors of our local market closed green.
The recently-established retail sector was the pick of the litter today. Shopping centre stocks soared at the idea of easing lockdown restrictions. Scentre Group gained 5.60 per cent, Mirvac Group 3.51 per cent, and Vicinity Scentres 5.63 per cent. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield tacked on an impressive 12.71 per cent.
Our heavyweight financials sector had its biggest one-day win of the month, gaining 4.25 per cent. Westpac led the charge among our big four, adding on 6.33 per cent by market close. ANZ closed 5.97 per cent higher, NAB closed 5.65 per cent higher, and Commonwealth Bank closed 3.93 per cent higher.
The other pillar of our local stock market, the materials sector, added its own weight to the gains but to a somewhat lesser degree. Our iron ore giants were mixed, with BHP gaining 2.13 per cent and Rio Tinto 1.39 per cent, while Fortescue Metals declined by 0.43 per cent.
Our safe-haven gold stocks kept things steady, however. Newcrest gained a slight 0.73 per cent, but Northern Star gained 3.21 per cent, Evolution Mining 2.51 per cent, and Saracen Mineral Holdings 2.74 per cent.
Tech stocks had yet another happy day as Afterpay touched a new all-time high close. The buy now, pay later giant gained 1.26 per cent to close with shares worth $49.11 each. Xero gained 3.08 per cent, WiseTech 1.46 per cent, and Computershare 4.02 per cent.
As for our neighbours in the east, Asian markets were having a happy day all round when the ASX closed. At the end of the day down under, the Asia Dow was 2.43 per cent higher, Japan’s Nikkei 225 was 2.55 per cent higher, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 2.12 per cent higher.
The Aussie dollar is stronger today, currently worth 65.83 US cents, 53.78 pence, and 11.51 South African Rand.
Today’s ups and downs
Junior explorer Volt Resources (ASX:VRC) is still riding the wave of momentum from a market announcement yesterday. The company revealed it is set to begin an exploration program in its Siguiri Basin projects in Guinea, West Africa. Shares gained 50 per cent today to close worth 2.4 cents each — 140 per cent higher than Friday afternoon.
On a day like today, it’s hard to pick out an underperforming stock. Junior gold miner Kin Mining (ASX:KIN) lost 20.69 per cent of its value despite no new market announcements. The company was trading steady until a sudden late-afternoon sell-off, and investors are currently none-the-wiser as to why. KIN shares closed worth 12 cents each.