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ASX Today: Red, red, red as oil crash thrashes all sectors

After a last-minute shuffle pulling the ASX's first-quarter loss lower yesterday, Aussie shares have kicked off the new quarter with a bang.

Despite historic quarterly losses across global economies, the final quarter of the financial year has started with some optimism. Today, all 11 of our market sectors closed green.

There was no sudden sell-off on the ASX 200 this time around as the index quickly put on some weight then held steady. When the closing bell rang, the index was 3.58 per cent higher at 5258.60 points.

Today's surge was spearheaded by a rebound in the energy sector as our big oilers posted some healthy gains. Woodside put on 7.85 per cent, Origin Energy 5.02 per cent, and Santos 9.65 per cent.

Oil Search soared 12.61 per cent ahead after striking some healthy oil flows in Alaska.

Shopping centre operators staged their own comeback today. Part of the recently-established real estate sector, Scentre Group gained 12.46 per cent and Vicinity Centres 11.59 per cent. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield gained 4.87 per cent.

As for the other real estate companies, Goodman Group gained 2.98 per cent, Dexus gained 5.94 per cent, and Mirvac gained 5.74 per cent.

After leading yesterday's sudden loss, our resource stocks regained their momentum today and posted some healthy gains across the board. BHP climbed 4.31 per cent and Rio Tinto 4.53 per cent. Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals, back now to third-place in the sector behind Rio, gained 3.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, our financials sector barely held on to green today until a sudden upswing across our big banks. Commonwealth Bank and Westpac posted 2.99 per cent and 1.21 per cent gains, respectively. NAB and ANZ almost missed out but a last-minute rise saw them close 1.62 per cent and 0.53 per cent green, respectively.

The generally-volatile technology sector was once more relatively stable. A 9.89 per cent incline from Afterpay offset a 7.02 per cent decline from WiseTech. Xero gained 2.34 per cent and Computershare 3.81 per cent.

The new quarter was not off to as strong a start for our neighbours to the east. Of the Asian markets, only the Shanghai Composite was showing green when the ASX closed. The Asia Dow was lower by 0.87 per cent, Japan's Nikkei 225 by 1.94 per cent, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng by 0.92 per cent.

Today, one Australian dollar is worth 61.23 US cents, 49.46 pence, and 10.97 South African Rand.

Today's ups and downs

Noxopharm (ASX:NOX) is the latest biotech company to announce a potential COVID-19 related treatment. The company told shareholders today it would be trialling its idronoxil drug as a treatment for the inflammatory "cytokine storm" condition responsible for the many COVID-19-related deaths. Eager punters jumped at the opportunity to grab a piece of another coronavirus player and Noxopharm shares gained 92.86 per cent today to close worth 27 cents each.

Real estate group The Agency (ASX:AU1) lost a fifth of its share price today after extending its debt repayment deadline once more. In a tough economy, the company was granted an extension for some debt repayments to a major bank in late March as The Agency works on some refinancing negotiations. Today, a further extension until April 14 has been granted, suggesting the company is still struggling to refinance. Shares in The Agency lost 20 per cent today to close worth four cents each.


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