Revived hopes for a US-China trade deal helped Australian shares recoup a fraction of this week’s heavy losses.
The ASX 200 bounced 58 points or 0.9 per cent to 6664 by mid-session, reversing roughly a quarter of the index’s decline over the previous two sessions.
The rebound followed a revival of trade hopes overnight after US sources close to negotiations were quoted as saying they still expect to sign a phase-one deal before December 15. The latest twist in the saga helped the S&P 500 rise 0.63 per cent, breaking a three-session losing run.
Tech and energy stocks spearheaded the local rally. Record sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday helped lift Afterpay 3.4 per cent. The buy-now-pay-later provider said it achieved underlying sales of $1 billion last month as the number of customers using its app increased by half a million to 6.6 million. Wisetech rose 1.7 per cent, Technology One 2.3 per cent and Altium 2 per cent.
Energy stocks surged after oil mounted its biggest rally in six weeks, ahead of tonight’s OPEC meeting. Santos advanced 4.2 per cent, Beach Energy 3.9 per cent and Woodside 1.9 per cent. Brent crude ticked down seven cents or 0.1 per cent this morning to $US62.93 a barrel after rising 3.6 per cent overnight.
Retail stocks were among the leaders, the consumer discretionary sector rising 0.9 per cent despite disappointing sales figures. Sales were flat during October, another sign this year’s rate cuts are not generating higher spending. The October trade report also fell short of expectations, with the surplus the smallest in ten months as exports suffered their largest decline in more than two years.
Bank stocks rallied after New Zealand’s Reserve Bank gave them two extra years to increase their capital buffers. The RBNZ raised the total capital banks must hold to 18 per cent of risk-weighted assets, but increased the timeline to meet the new requirements from five years to seven. ANZ jumped 2.6 per cent, CBA 0.9 per cent, NAB 1.9 per cent and Westpac 1.1 per cent.
Gold miner Resolute was the pick of the index despite mild pressure on precious metals overnight. Shares jumped 7.8 per cent on news diamond drilling at the company’s Mako mine in Senegal struck high-grade intersections, extending the life of the mine.
Grocery wholesaler Metcash slipped 1.8 per cent after declaring a half-year reported loss after tax of $151.6 million after losing a contract to supply 7-Eleven. Seed company Nufarm shed 1.4 per cent on news earnings across all regions were down last quarter on the same time last year.
China’s Shanghai Composite bounced 0.3 per cent, Hong
Kong’s Hang Seng 0.6 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei 0.4 per cent. S&P 500 index
futures were recently off two points or less than 0.1 per cent.
Gold edged up $1 or 0.1 per cent to $US1,481.20 an ounce.
The dollar eased a tenth of a cent to 68.43 US cents.
What’s hot today and what’s not:
Hot today: Appsvill’s market capitalisation almost doubled in the first hour of trade after the company announced take-up of its its software-as-a-service platform was stronger than expected. Shares shot from 19 cents to 37 cents before trimming their gain to 73.7 per cent at 33 cents. The company said it now expected to have 45 per cent more paying customers this quarter, compared to the same period last year – an upgrade on guidance of 40 per cent less than three weeks ago. Monthly recurring revenue was expected to increase to $105,000 by the end of this month.
Not today: New South Wales coalminer Whitehaven Coal slumped to its lowest level in more than two years after revealing that drought and shortages of skilled labour were impacting productivity. The company said it was struggling to find experienced personnel locally and was exploring ways of bringing skilled labour to its mines in the north-west of the state. Smoke and dust have also caused stoppages, prompting the company to lower production and sales guidance. Shares sank 11 per cent to a level last seen in July 2017.