Aussie shares fought back against a morning slump after a US health report suggested investors had jumped the gun on news of a coronavirus vaccine.
The report suggested the Moderna vaccine trial results were missing some critical data and the sudden market upswing was unjustified. What followed was a brutal late-market sell-off that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average shave off 390 points or 1.59 per cent.
Our own ASX 200 index suffered a similar fate in early trade, losing as much as 0.9 per cent in a matter of minutes after opening this morning. However, steady gains from the technology and industrials sectors rebalanced the market, and the index was green once more by mid-afternoon. The ASX 200 ended the day up by 0.24 per cent at 5573 points, marking the fourth session of gains in a row.
Payment services business EML Payments lead the gains among the tech sector after a stellar third-quarter business update. The company revealed a 20 per cent boost to revenue and 24 per cent boost to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) compared to the previous corresponding period. EML closed 12.77 per cent higher.
Xero gained 0.96 per cent, Afterpay gained 2.12 per cent, and Computershare gained 4.36 per cent.
Meanwhile, with local quarantine restrictions easing, the sentiment among our industrials sector is slowly becoming more positive. With hopes of potential interstate travel by July, Qantas Airways gained 0.86 per cent. Auckland Airport gained 1.69 per cent and Sydney Airport 1.07 per cent.
Our financials sector had a poor start to the day but by market close added its weight to the win. Our big four banks were all touching green by the end of the day, with NAB leading the way and tacking on 0.71 per cent. Westpac gained 0.59 per cent, Commonwealth Bank 0.7 per cent, and ANZ 0.45 per cent.
Despite its best efforts to join in on the green close, however, the materials sector missed out. A 0.94 per cent decline from iron ore giant BHP kept things subdued, with Rio Tinto’s 0.38 per cent loss not doing the sector any favours. A marginal 0.22 per cent gain from Fortescue was not enough to offset the losses.
It was a somewhat-mixed day for gold stocks. Newcrest Mining, the biggest gold miner on the ASX by market cap, lost 0.25 per cent. Saracen Mineral Holdings lost 0.89 per cent, but Northern Star gained 1.7 per cent and Evolution gained 0.16 per cent.
Over to the east, the major Asian indexes were similarly mixed. When the ASX closed, only Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was showing green and sitting 0.91 per cent higher. The Asia Dow was lower by 0.15 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng by 0.17 per cent.
The Aussie dollar is slightly stronger today, currently worth 65.49 US cents, 53.37 pence, and 11.97 South African Rand.
Today’s ups and downs
Junior gold company PanTerra Gold (ASX:PGI) nearly doubled in value today after the Cuban government approved a joint venture between the company and the government’s mining division to build a gold and silver deposit on the Isle of Youth in Cuba. The project will be developed by Cuban company Minera La Victoria, of which the government will own 51 per cent and PGI 49 per cent. Shares in PGI gained 78.57 per cent to close worth a flat five cents each.
Meanwhile, small-cap energy company Emperor Energy (ASX:EMP) fell victim to profit-taking today after doubling in value yesterday. A deal with fellow-listed APA Group (ASX:APA) saw the company top the winner’s list yesterday, but today EMP slumped 17.14 per cent as punters take their profits and move on. Shares closed worth 0.29 cents each.