After a tumultuous 2020, the Aussie share market ended the financial year on a positive note with almost all 11 market sectors a healthy shade of green.
Our benchmark ASX 200 index closed the final session of the financial year 1.43 per cent or 82.9 points higher at 5897.90 points. While this represents an impressive 30 per cent rebound from the mid-March COVID-19-induced slump, the final figure is still over 11 per cent lower than the first day of the 2020 financial year last July, and 17 per cent lower than the index’s February peak at 7162.50 points.
Still, today’s green close defies record coronavirus cases in Victoria and a recent drop in consumer confidence. It seems Australian stocks were more concerned with overnight movements on Wall Street, following the Dow Jones’ 2.23 per cent rise.
Today, the energy sector extended an early run to close as today’s pick of the litter, up by 4.3 per cent. Woodside tacked on a nice 5.25 per cent, while Santos gained 4.95 per cent and Oil Search gained 4.97 per cent. Beach Energy closed 5.92 per cent higher.
The heavyweight materials sector closed 1.64 per cent green, having almost fully recovered from the coronavirus slump. However, the sector is sitting 5.7 per cent lower than the start of the financial year. Fibre cement product maker James Hardie Industries led the sector today, closing up by 5.81 per cent. As for our iron ore giants, BHP closed 1.24 per cent higher, Fortescue closed 0.73 per cent higher, and Rio Tinto closed 0.71 per cent higher.
Even gold stocks had a happy day, despite their usual trend of heading the opposite direction to the wider sector. Newcrest gained 0.45 per cent, Northern Star 0.98 per cent, Evolution 1.8 per cent, and Silver Lake 1.91 per cent.
Meanwhile, our big banks kept financials stocks steady, with Commonwealth Bank leading the charge at a 1.22 per cent gain. Westpac gained 0.9 per cent, while NAB and ANZ gained 0.61 per cent and 0.43 per cent, respectively. Still. despite a strong rally over the past month, the sector has lost over 25 per cent in value since the start of the financial year.
One of the only sectors to end the financial year on a low was the real estate sector, which has only been around since the start of January. Despite Lendlease’s best efforts to close 4.04 per cent higher, a 1.20 per cent decline from Goodman Group offset the wins. Dexus lost 0.65 per cent, while GPT Group lost 0.95 per cent.
Over to the east, it’s mostly green across major Asian indexes. When the ASX closed for the last time this financial year, the Asia Dow was 0.47 per cent higher and the Nikkei 225 1.33 per cent higher. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was sitting a slight 0.06 per cent lower.
As for our local currency, the Aussie dollar is currently slightly stronger against the US dollar and slightly weaker against the Pound sterling. Currently, one dollar buys 68.57 US cents, 55.82 pence, 11.87 South African rand.
Today’s ups and downs
Wireless communications software company Etherstack (ASX:ESK) had as stellar an end to the financial year as can be hoped for after signing a deal with Samsung. Etherstack’s land mobile radio switching technologies will be integrated into Samsung’s network solutions. Investors were ecstatic at the news, with ESK shares increasing tenfold and then some. Shares closed 1358.33 per cent higher at $1.75 each. On Friday, shares closed for just 12 cents a share.
It’s a tough day to pick out a losing stock, with market sentiment generally outweighing bad news across the board today. Only a handful of companies on the ASX 200 list closed red today, including Skycity Entertainment (ASX:SKC) which dropped 4.7 per cent, and WiseTech (ASX:WTC), which dropped 2.22 per cent.