The share market looks set to finish little changed for the week after gains in mining and banks stocks helped recoup most of yesterday’s losses.
A patternless week has seen the S&P/ASX 200 move in a different direction every session. Today, the benchmark index bounced 44 points or 0.8 per cent to pare its deficit for the week to 19 points or around 0.3 per cent.
Eight of the eleven sectors rallied after US stocks mounted a powerful reversal overnight. The Dow swung from 458 points in the red to a closing gain of 377 points or 1.62 per cent, its biggest swing in two months. The S&P 500 gained 33 points or 1.15 per cent.
Here, resource stocks led the advance following overnight gains in oil and gold. Galaxy Resources climbed 6.9 per cent, Gold Road Resources 5.8 per cent and Oil Search 3.6 per cent. Further up the food chain, Newcrest put on 3.2 per cent, BHP 3 per cent, South32 2.2 per cent, Rio Tinto 2.1 per cent and Woodside 1 per cent.
Gains among the big four banks were more modest. ANZ and Westpac added 0.9 per cent, CBA 0.6 per cent and NAB 0.5 per cent.
Agribusiness Graincorp was among the standouts for a second session, rising 7.1 per cent a day after announcing a dramatic reversal in fortunes as its first-half profit was boosted by widespread rain in the east. The company’s former malting division, United Malt Group, which was spun out in March, sank 7 per cent after tapping institutional shareholders for $140 million at an 11.4 per cent discount to the last traded share price.
Property group Charter Hall was another leading performer, climbing 5.1 per cent after confirming it will pay an increased dividend despite the impact of the coronavirus. Online retailer Kogan rose 5.2 per cent after acquiring family-run furniture retailer Matt Blatt for $4.4 million.
Technology was the only sector to miss the up-elevator, sagging 1.6 per cent as sector heavyweight Xero extended yesterday’s fall. The cloud-based business platform eased 4.4 per cent a day after its maiden full-year profit missed expectations. Computershare dipped 3.1 per cent, Afterpay 1.5 per cent and Nanosonics 0.7 per cent.
Building supplies firm Boral dropped 3.3 per cent after warning of a decline in revenues across most businesses due to the impact of COVID-19. The company said earnings margins for the four months to the end of April were tracking 3.5 per cent lower than through the first half.
Asian markets declined following an uneven batch of Chinese economic data. April figures showed industrial production rebounded in China, but unemployment crept up and retail sales and business investments were both weaker than expected. The Shanghai Composite fell 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.6 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei 0.3 per cent. S&P 500 index futures dropped eight points or 0.3 per cent.
Brent crude added to overnight gains, rising 15 cents or 0.5 per cent to $US31.28 a barrel. Gold edged up 70 cents or 0.1 per cent to $US1,741.70 an ounce.
The dollar faded 0.14 per cent to 64.52 US cents.
What’s hot today and what’s not:
Hot today: Kykr (ASX:KYK) shares surged to their highest level since January after the regulatory tech company inked an annual contract with Germany’s second-largest bank. The deal with Commerzbank upgrades the German bank’s use of Kykr’s customer verification platform from a month-by-month PAYG basis to an annual commitment worth at least $100,000 over the first year. The company also reported record monthly revenue of $260,000 during April, a 39 per cent increase on last year. KYK shares jumped 40.6 per cent to 9.7 cents.
Not today: Shares in Michael Hill (ASX:MHJ) sank after the high-street jeweller warned some stores shuttered during the pandemic will not reopen. The company intends to reopen more than 100 stores in Australia and New Zealand from tomorrow, but has already put a line through nine under-performing outlets in both countries and in Canada. “Further store closures are likely across all markets,” the company said in a statement to the ASX. The share price fell 6.9 per cent.