The Australian sharemarket maintained momemtum in the afternoon session and starting November off on a positive note, despite Westpac’s sharp fall. At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.6 per cent or 47 points higher at 7,371.
Financials were the only sector that closed in the red, down 0.5 per cent. Communication services were the best performer, up 2.3 per cent, followed by utilities, up 2 per cent, then technology and consumer discretionary, both up 1.9 per cent.
The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Orocobre (ASX:ORE), closing 5.8 per cent higher. The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Westpac (ASX:WBC), closing 7.4 per cent lower following its full year results, which did not meet expectations.
Amongst the gains, Telstra (ASX:TLS) closed 2.9 per cent higher and Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) closed 1.6 per cent higher, ignoring Westpac’s fall. Tech stocks were split, with payment software Xero (ASX:XRO) closing 4.1 per cent higher and software giant WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) closing 5.7 per cent higher, while Afterpay (ASX:APT) closed 1 per cent lower. Bio tech giant CSL (ASX:CSL) added to the gains, closing 2 per cent higher.
Travel stocks were on the positive side today, as Qantas (ASX:QAN) closed 3.6 per cent higher after the first quarantine-free flight arrived in Sydney since the pandemic began and Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) closed 2.3 per cent higher. Consumer stocks rallied, led by Domino’s Pizza (ASX:DMP) closing 3.6 per cent higher, Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) closing 1.8 per cent higher and supplements company Blackmores (ASX:BKL) closing 5.5 per cent higher. Gambling giants also lifted, with Tabcorp (ASX:TAH) up 3 per cent and Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) up 2.6 per cent.
Energy stocks were steady today, with Woodside (ASX:WPL) closing 1.2 per cent higher, Santos (ASX:STO) closing 1.7 per cent higher and and Oil Search (ASX:OSH) closing 2.1 per cent higher. Heavyweight miners were mixed as BHP (ASX:BHP) closed 0.6 per cent lower as iron ore prices traded lower, while Fortescue (ASX:FMG) closed 2.6 per cent higher.
In headlines today, electricity operator AusNet (ASX:AST) closed 3.9 per cent higher after entering a scheme implemtation deed with Brookfield, who upped its offer to get in front of APA Group. APA (ASX:APA) closed 2.9 per cent higher.
Local economic news
CoreLogic home value index for October was released. Australian housing values rose 1.5 per cent in October, a similar result to August and September. However, taking the monthly change out another decimal point shows the market is continuing to slowly lose momentum since moving through a peak monthly rate of growth in March (2.8 per cent). Nationally, the monthly growth rate eased to 1.49 per cent in October from 1.51 per cent in the previous month.
Australian Bureau of Statistics released their lending indicators for September. New loan commitments fell 1.4 per cent for housing, rose 0.4 per cent for personal fixed term loans and rose 13 per cent for business construction (typically a volatile series).
The IHS Markit purchasing managers index for manufacturing rose from 56.8 to 58.2 in October.
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Westpac (ASX:WBC) has recorded cash profit of $5.35 billion for the 2021 financial year and announced a $3.5 billion off market buy-back.
Electricity operator AusNet (ASX:AST) has entered into a scheme implementation deed with Brookfield after agreeing to its $10.2 billion bid.
Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) began trading again today after completing its $1.5 billion institutional placement.
Retirement and lifestyle property developer Ingenia Communities (ASX:INA) has planned to acquire 20 communities and development sites worth $552 million in total, while undertaking a $475 million equity rising.
Step One Clothing (ASX:STP) started trading today. Their shares issued at $1.53, started trading at $2.70 and closed flat at $2.76.
Judo Capital Holdings (ASX:JDO) started trading today. Their shares issued at $2.10 and closed flat at $2.24.
The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 78 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 10 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 43 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 76 points when the market next opens.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector was Communication Services, up 2.3 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Financials, down 0.5 per cent.
The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Orocobre (ASX:ORE), closing 5.8 per cent higher at $9.42. It was followed by shares in Blackmores (ASX:BKL) and WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC).
The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC), closing 7.4 per cent lower at $23.78. It was followed by shares in ResMed (ASX:RMD) and St Barbara (ASX:SBM).
Japan’s Nikkei has gained 2.4 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 1 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has gained 0.1 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1785.09 an ounce.
Light crude is trading $0.29 lower at US$83.28 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.09 US cents.