After the initial shock of fresh COVID-19 lockdowns in Victoria, the ASX had a day to breathe as it recouped some of the losses from this week.
The local share market was set up for success after a strong trading session on Wall Street where, despite a record number of daily COVID-19 cases, the Dow Jones closed 0.68 per cent higher and the Nasdaq closed 1.44 per cent higher.
Our own S&P/ASX 200 index quickly tacked on 0.7 per cent, and this time it held on to the gains. By market close, the index was 0.59 per cent higher at 5955.5 points; a modest result, to be sure, but welcome relief after the index lost 2.3 per cent in the first three sessions of the week.
Today, the technology sector was the pick of the litter as Afterpay continues to surge ahead. The fintech darling flexed a neat 11.36 per cent gain today, closing above $70 per share for the first time. The company’s share price has now increased by almost 730 per cent since its mid-March low. Computershare trailed behind, gaining 1.83 per cent, while Xero lost 0.12 per cent.
Resource stocks added to the day’s gains as our iron ore giants pushed higher. Rio Tinto led the charge today, up 3.28 per cent. BHP gained 1.99 per cent and Fortescue 1.36 per cent. The gold subsector also had a stellar day, with Evolution Mining gaining for the third day in a row and closing 4.29 per cent up at a new all-time high. Newcrest gained 1.72 per cent, Saracen 12.13 per cent, and Regis Resources 3.27 per cent.
As for our financials sector, gains were somewhat muted as Commonwealth Bank dragged our big four down. The country’s biggest bank closed 0.2 per cent lower, while Westpac, NAB, and ANZ each closed between 0.39 per cent and 0.44 per cent higher. Macquarie Group gained a marginal 0.03 per cent.
Taking a look at our eastern neighbours, it’s mostly green across major Asian indexes bar the Hang Seng, which is currently 0.16 per cent lower. The Asia Dow is up by 0.37 per cent, the Nikkei 225 by 0.4 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite by 1.05 per cent.
The Australian dollar is up slightly against the US dollar today, but down against the Pound sterling. One dollar is currently worth 69.86 US cents, 55.27 pence, and 11.84 South African Rand.
Today’s ups and downs
Sustainable packaging specialist SECOS (ASX:SES) nearly tripled in value this morning after revealing it will soon be stocking two of its compostoble bin liners in Woolworths (ASX:WOW) stores across the country. The liners will first be sold out in 86 Woolworths Eco stores this month and can then be rolled out across the wider Australian Woolworths store network. Shares in the company closed 87.5 per cent higher at 10 cents a pop.
Meanwhile, sanitiser maker Holista CollTech (ASX:HCT) slumped after admitting revenue from the Natshield range it has been spruiking throughout the year will be far below the April target. The company initially laid out a sales target of almost $4 million in April but said half-yearly revenue from Natshield sales is now expected to be just $500,000. The company blamed COVID-19 travel bans, lockdowns, and race-related civil unrest in the States for the missed target. Shares tumbled 34.29 per cent to close worth 9.2 cents each.