ASX shifts up a gear as Omicron dismissed: Wednesday 8 December

Steven Deare
(Australian Associated Press)


A midweek rush of money to the ASX is under way as investors around the world bet the Omicron variant will not complicate the economic recovery.

The Australian market had its biggest gain in more than two months as a broad-based rally helped the indices higher by 1.25 per cent on Wednesday.

Shares in telecommunications, technology and materials improved by more than two per cent.

The big miners were beneficiaries of higher iron ore prices. Fortescue climbed 3.27 per cent, Rio Tinto improved 2.18 per cent and BHP rose 1.85 per cent.

US markets had surged after assurances in recent days from health officials and coronavirus vaccine suppliers that Omicron was not as dangerous as feared.

ThinkMarkets analyst Carl Capolingua noticed a sizeable jump in the Nasdaq at the opening of US trade, which preceded rallies in many markets.

The US technology index opened higher than its top level from the previous day.

“These moves tend to indicate significant shift in investor sentiment,” Mr Capolingua said.

“Money has committed in a big way to risk-on in the US.

“So it was no surprise for me to see money come in to the ASX. There is lots of cash waiting to buy the dip.”

The best ASX technology stock was buy now, pay later provider Zip. Its shares improved by almost 11 per cent. A day earlier the company reported a record month in gross sales and shares closed almost 10 per cent better.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 91.5 points, or 1.25 per cent, to 7405.4 points.

The All Ordinaries closed higher by 102 points, or 1.34 per cent, to 7707.2 points.

In financials, Magellan executive chairman Hamish Douglass and his wife said they did not intend to sell their shares in the fund manager despite separating.

Mr Douglass owns 12 per cent of the company and said he remained committed.

Shares lost more than 10 per cent in the first two days of the week after chief executive Brett Cairns said he would leave due to personal reasons.

On Wednesday, shares were up 4.3 per cent to $30.35.

The big banks were higher. NAB was best and gained about one per cent to $28.63.

Oil and gas supplier Woodside will invest $5 billion in low carbon energy by 2030 while still benefiting from its proposed merger with BHP’s petroleum business.

Chief executive Meg O’Neill told investors that while she expected liquefied natural gas would remain an important energy source for decades, Woodside should support customer efforts to lower carbon production.

Shares were up 2.1 per cent to $22.40.

A Papua New Guinea regulator has cleared the merger of Oil Search and Santos.

The consumer and competition commission cleared the proposal although court approval is still required.

Santos and Oil Search each improved by two per cent as oil prices increased.

Telstra secured the maximum amount of low band spectrum allowed in a government auction.

The carrier paid $616 million for the spectrum which will help customers transfer data using services such as 5G.

Shares were higher by about 1.25 per cent to $4.06.

On Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics will release its latest payroll jobs report for the fortnight ending November 13.

The Australian dollar was buying 71.27 US cents at 1712 AEDT, higher from 70.78 US cents at Tuesday’s close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 91.5 points, or 1.25 per cent, to 7405.4 points on Wednesday.

* The All Ordinaries closed higher by 102 points, or 1.34 per cent, to 7707.2 points.

* At 1712 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down three points, or 0.04 per cent, at 7414 points.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 71.27 US cents, from 70.78 cents on Tuesday

* 80.90 Japanese yen, from 80.54 yen

* 63.10 Euro cents, from 62.73 cents

* 53.77 British pence, from 53.31 pence

* 104.95 NZ cents, from 104.60 cents.


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Categories: Finance