The Market Herald - At The Bell

Join our daily newsletter At The Bell to receive exclusive market insights

Aussie shares were spurred on by another tepid rebound in energy stocks today, but not enough to bring our weekly close to the green.

News from the U.S. keeps Aussie investors on their toes every night as Wall Street plays a big role in dictating the direction our local share market will travel.

Today, the ASX outperformed the Dow Jones, which closed a muted 0.17 per cent green after an alleged flop from the promising Gilead Sciences coronavirus treatment which garnered so much attention last week.

Down under, another recovery in the price of oil distracted from the drug flop and the benchmark ASX 200 index gained 0.49 per cent or 25.5 points. Still, the index’s 5242.60-point close puts us 244.9 points behind where we were last Friday — the ASX’s first weekly loss in five weeks.

The energy rebound was led by Oil Search, which gained 4.40 per cent today. Meanwhile, Woodside Petroleum closed 1.80 per cent higher, Santos 1.88 per cent higher, and Origin Energy 2.54 per cent higher.

Our heavyweight materials sector kept things steady as iron ore producers had another green day. Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals tacked on 3.43 per cent, while BHP gained 2.66 per cent. Rio Tinto gained 1.48 per cent.

As for the safe-haven investors have found in gold stocks, it was a mostly green day across the board for our big miners bar Northern Star’s 1.12 per cent decline. Newcrest increased in value by 0.18 per cent, Evolution by 2.17 per cent, and Saracen by 2.8 per cent. Regis Resources closed grey.

Interestingly, the financials sector posted a marginal loss despite small gains from each of our big four banks. Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, NAB, and ANZ each gained between 0.08 per cent and 0.33 per cent today.

However, Macquarie Group lost 2.01 per cent and Suncorp lost 1.11 per cent.

Our supermarket giants were mixed today as the consumer staples sector closed slightly lower. Woolworths lost 0.66 per cent while Coles gained 0.50 per cent. Metcash’s 1.2 per cent gain was offset by Treasury Wine Estate’s 0.92 per cent loss.

Meanwhile, it was red alert across all major Asian indexes today. When the ASX closed shop for the weekend, the Asia Dow was sitting 0.14 per cent lower, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index 0.86 per cent lower, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.51 per cent lower.

The Aussie dollar enters the weekend lower, currently worth 63.47 US cents, 51.47 pence, and 12.16 South African Rand.

Today’s ups and downs

It’s been a strange week of unexplained bear runs, with recruitment agency Ignite Limited (ASX:IGN) quintupling its share price at one point today for no apparent reason. The company said in a response to the ASX’s “explain yourself” query it had no idea why shares are suddenly popping off. By market close, the share price had somewhat settled, but still sat 310 per cent higher at 4.1 cents each.

Meanwhile, First Graphene (ASX:FGR) is the latest company to tap investors for a pocketful of cash at a nifty discount. The company launched a 13-cent one-for-10 entitlement offer today to raise $6.1 million to fund expansion. Shares in the company quickly dipped to match the price of the offer, closing 16.13 per cent lower at 13 cents each.

More From The Market Herald
The Market Herald Video

TMH Market Close: ASX200 closes lower, tech sector tumbles 3.9pc

The ASX 200 closed lower, with every sector recording a loss. Tech was the biggest drag…

ASX Today: European shares rise; Chinese factory activity contracts

Australian shares face an uncertain start to the new year as traders weigh a positive session in Europe overnight against a sharp contraction

ASX Update: Heavy selling resumes as 2023 brings no relief

The share market slumped to an eight-week low as signs of a sharp slowdown in major trading partner China offset positive leads from

ASX Close: Eight-week low as China worries mount

A new year got off to a challenging start with Australian stocks at eight-week lows as a month-long retreat continued in the wake