Home Finance ASX ends week on high note, travel stocks rebound

ASX ends week on high note, travel stocks rebound

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The ASX ended the week on a high note, racking up his fourth positive session in five days, with travel stocks rebounding thanks to good COVID news in NSW. The Australian sharemarket ended Friday’s trading session slightly higher, with travel stocks gaining ground on positive COVID-19 news in Sydney while tech companies continued to be hammered.

The S&P/ASX200 finished up 0.27 percent at 7080.8 while the All Ordinaries Index gained 0.26 percent to 7325.2. CommSec analyst Steve Daghlian noted it was the fourth improvement in five days. “It means we’re creeping back up to those 14-and-a-half month highs, which we hit on Wednesday, and we’re not too far away from the very elusive record highs,” Mr. Daghlian said.

He said tech stocks fell for the sixth consecutive day. “Last year, tech stocks rose by 56 percent while the broader ASX200 actually fell by 1.5 percent,” Mr. Daghlian pointed out. Buy-now-pay-later market darling Afterpay slid 4.14 percent to $95.38, but more miniature rival Zip Co advanced 1.81 percent to $7.33.

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OpenMarkets Group chief executive Ivan Tchourilov said heightened volatility in the tech sector had created some good trading opportunities, with zipping the single most traded stock in the BNPL sector among his company’s clients. “Afterpay also drew the attention of traders and was the fourth most traded stock,” Mr. Tchourilov said.

Geospatial map technology outfit Nearmap sank 4.97 percent to $1.72 a day after vowing to fight a complaint in the US District Court by competitors Eagle View Technologies and Pictometry International, which allege patent infringement and seek unspecified monetary damages. The stock plummeted 23.3 percent on Thursday.

Accounting software provider Xero slipped 2.59 percent to $133.75, while logistics software outfit Wisetech Global declined 3.12 percent to $28.23. Among the winners, Webjet jumped 7.42 percent to $4.78, Corporate Travel Management gained 6.3 percent to $17.86, and Flight Centre surged 7.26 percent to $15.51.

“The good news in that space is there were no locally-acquired cases in NSW over the past day,” Mr. Daghlian said. “Having said that, some of these stocks have dropped 10 percent over the week.” Iron ore miners gained ground after prices for the steelmaking commodity surged to a record high overnight, breaching $US200 per tonne. Fortescue rose 0.97 per cent to $22.97, Rio Tinto firmed 1.07 per cent to $127.11 and BHP put on 0.58 per cent to $50.09.

Results from Rio Tinto’s annual general meeting published late on Thursday showed a huge protest vote against the miner’s remuneration report, with more than 60 percent of investors voting against big bonuses for executives and a massive payout for former chief Jean-Sebastien Jacques in the wake of the Juukan Gorge cave blast scandal.

“The board acknowledges that the executive pay outcomes about the tragic events at Juukan Gorge are sensitive and contentious issues,” it said. Rio Tinto also noted departures left it with only one board member with mining industry experience, Megan Clark. However, the reduced vote for her re-election reflected her failings with the 2020 rock shelter destruction, given her role as chair of the sustainability committee.

She is also one of the two Australian residents on the board. Gold miners benefited from higher prices for the precious metal, with Newcrest lifting 3.84 percent to $27.33, Evolution Mining strengthening 3.9 percent to $4.80 and Northern Star Resources adding 1.87 percent to $10.88.

The energy sector was also green, with Oil Search appreciating 1.29 percent to $3.94, Origin up 0.49 percent at $4.14, and Woodside rising 0.48 percent to $23.26. ANZ firmed 0.36 percent to $27.75, Commonwealth Bank lifted 1.05 percent to $93.92, National Australia Bank gained 0.83 percent to $26.78, and Westpac was 0.27 percent stronger at $26.09.

Mr. Tchourilov noted Westpac, ANZ, and National Australia Bank reported significant increases in cash profits and rewarded shareholders with better than expected dividends this week. He said that ANZ was the single most purchased stock across the OpenMarkets client base as investors chasing yield gravitated towards the company.

Macquarie Group shares swung between gains and losses due to its 10 percent rise in full-year net profit, finishing 0.35 percent weaker at $158.45. REA Group, which is majority held by the owner of this title News Corp and runs property websites including realestate.com.au, booked strong earnings results amid a bumper market for dwellings sales.

Shares in the company appreciated 1.44 percent to $156.05. News Corp also reported higher revenues, sending the media giant’s shares 4.76 percent higher to $32.16. The Aussie dollar fetched 77.66 US cents, 55.84 British pence, and 64.39 Euro cents in afternoon trade.

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