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ASX up 0.94%: REITs best performing sector

Australian shares opened 0.5% higher on Friday, with the financial sector, including banks, recovering by 0.7%. Investors were monitoring the potential impact of bad debt exposure to US commercial property. The real estate sector performed the best, surging by 1.9%. The local tech sector also gained 1.1%, driven by Meta’s record-high stock price after strong ad sales growth guidance for Q1 2024. However, Apple issued a warning about slowing sales in China, and Atlassian’s results fell short of expectations. In the US, pressure on regional banks lessened, although New York Community Bank’s shares remained down by 11%, following a 38% drop the previous day, raising concerns about US commercial property losses. Bank of America reassured investors, downplaying contagion risk, attributing the situation to idiosyncratic factors tied to NYCB.

At around 11:30am, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.94 per cent higher at 7,659.60.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 62 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is REITs, up 2.7 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Utilities, down 0.28 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Pro Medicus (ASX:PME), trading 3.14 per cent higher at $103.80. It is followed by shares in Altium (ASX:ALU) and Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST).

The worst-performing large cap is AGL Energy (ASX:AGL), trading 3.04 per cent lower at $8.28. It is followed by shares in Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$2072.70 an ounce.

Iron ore is 0.8 per cent higher at US$132.80 a tonne.

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 0.8 per cent fall.

One Australian dollar is buying 65.82 US cents.