ASX holds lead, BHP & Rio advance: Aus shares gain 1.8% over the week

The Australian sharemarket continued to make ground in the afternoon session as miners lifted the local bourse. At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.9 per cent or 63 points higher at 7,320. Over the week, it closed 1.8 per cent or 135 points higher.

All sectors closed in the black. Materials were the best performer, up 1.8 per cent, followed by technology, up 1.1 per cent. Energy and communication services were next, both closing 0.9 per cent higher. The sector with the fewest gains was real estate investment trusts, up 0.1 per cent.

The best performing stock was Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN), closing 7.4 per cent higher. The worst performing stock was EML Payments (ASX:EML), closing 14.6 per cent lower, after concerns that the Irish Central Bank’s limits will hinder the European operations of the Prepaid Financial Services business.

Rio Tinto and BHP advanced in the afternoon as iron ore prices remained steady. Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed 4 per cent higher, while BHP (ASX:BHP) closed 3 per cent higher. Gold stocks also made ground, with Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) and Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) both closing 1.6 per cent higher.

Afterpay (ASX:APT) maintained its gains, closing 1.8 per cent higher, following a strong night on Wall Street’s tech stocks. Conglomerate giant Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) closed 1.3 per cent higher, following the battle for API (ASX:API) announced yesterday. Investment advice company HUB24 (ASX:HUB) closed 5.7 per cent higher and the investment giant Magellan Financial (ASX:MFG) closed 5.6 per cent higher. 

Energy stocks lifted in the afternoon session, led by Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL), which closed 1.2 per cent higher. Travel stocks were under pressure today, as Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) closed 0.2 per cent lower and Qantas (ASX:QAN) closed flat.

NSW sits tight as it prepares to reopen venues on Monday.

Onto banks, NAB (ASX:NAB) closed 1.3 per cent higher, while Westpac (ASX:WBC) closed 0.5 per cent lower. 

In headlines today, recycling company Sims (ASX:SGM) closed 1.7 per cent higher, following a CEO change. 

Local economic news

The Reserve Bank released its Financial Stability Review this morning. Financial systems in Australia and internationally have been resilient to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Banks have cushioned the economic impact of the pandemic and have supported the recovery through loan repayment deferrals and new lending.

Low interest rates have contributed to high prices for financial assets and housing. There has been some increased risk-taking and higher borrowing. Most borrowers’ income has recovered from large falls resulting from the pandemic. But income remains lower for some in heavily impacted industries and particularly in some emerging market economies.

The number and severity of cyber-attacks on financial institutions continues to increase. In Australia and internationally, financial institutions and regulators are focusing on strengthening the resilience of individual institutions and the financial system to a substantial cyber-attack.

Company news

Please join us for Stocks of the Hour here.

Woolworths (ASX:WOW) has settled the class action proceedings made against them in 2019, regarding payment shortfalls to its salaried team members.

Metcash (ASX:MTS) will welcome Doug Jones from Massmart Wholesale to take over Jeff Adams role as CEO.

Recycling company Sims (ASX:SGM) has appointed Victoria Binns as an independent non-executive director, following the retirement of Jim Thompson.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 12 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 2 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 21 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 49 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

All sectors closed in the black. The best-performing sector was Materials, up 1.8 per cent. The sector with the fewest gains was Real Estate Investment Trusts, up 0.1 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN), closing 7.4 per cent higher at $6.27. It was followed by shares in HUB24 (ASX:HUB) and Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was EML Payments (ASX:EML), closing 14.6 per cent lower at $3.16. It was followed by shares in Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has gained 1.8 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.20 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has gained 0.1 per cent.

Wall Street

Over the last four trading days, the Dow Jones gained 1.2 per cent, the S&P 500 gained almost 1 per cent and the Nasdaq gained 0.6 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1757.90 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.3 per cent higher at US$117.02 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 4.8 per cent.
Light crude is trading $1.14 higher at US$79.44 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.00 US cents.