Merry Christmas from FNN: ASX closes 0.4% higher

The Australian sharemarket rewarded traders on Christmas Eve, riding the Santa sleigh for its fourth straight day with an across the board sector rise. The Santa rally was led by banks and energy stocks after Wall St closed the week in positive territory, with the S&P 500 hitting a fresh record high. 

Major indexes around the globe climbed ahead of the holiday season, viewing the Omicron variant of Covid-19 as milder than initially thought. Back home, Aussies are living under reintroduced measures to curb the spread of the virus, including QR codes and masks in parts of eastern Australian ahead of Christmas. 

The Christmas cheer was seen the least in consumer staples stocks while consumer discretionary rose the most on a light volume day. 

Across the resources list, Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) closed 1 per cent higher, BHP (ASX:BHP) closed 0.4 per cent higher and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed 0.2 per cent higher. Santos (ASX:STO) closed 1.8 per cent higher and Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) closed 0.3 per cent higher.

In company news, financial services provider AMP (ASX:AMP) soared 6.4 per cent after divesting its infrastructure debt platform. 

Major banks closed higher, with NAB (ASX:NAB) up 0.9 per cent, Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) up 0.7 per cent, Westpac (ASX:WBC) up 0.5 per cent and ANZ (ASX:ANZ) up 0.4 per cent. 

Magellan Financial (ASX:MFG) continued to rise, closing 2 per cent higher after supporters of the company noted its confidence in the investment manager.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.4 per cent or 33 points higher at 7,420. Over the week it closed 1.6 per cent or 116 points higher.

The market will reopen next Wednesday. 

Company news 

Join Mel for Stocks of the Hour here covering headlines from AMP (ASX:AMP), Family Zone Cyber Safety (ASX:FZO) and Universal Biosensors (ASX:UBI). 

AMP (ASX:AMP) has inked a deal with Ares Management to sell its infrastructure debt platform for $428 million.

Universal Biosensors (ASX:UBI) has agreed to be in an exclusive contract with IQ Science to scale a Covid-19 detection test giving results within 30 seconds.

Family Zone (ASX:FZO) has announced that 10 million students have passed through on their platform including licensed and students in trials.

Cooper Energy (ASX:COE) has appointed Daniel Young from Jadestone Energy as chief financial officer (CFO), effective from May next year.

Home Consortium’s (ASX:HMC) restructuring of HomeCo from a stapled company structure to a single company structure was implemented today.  

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 200 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 30 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 129 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 32 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Communication Services, up 1.2 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Consumer Staples, down 0.2 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was AMP (ASX:AMP), closing 6.4 per cent higher at $1.00. It was followed by shares in Allkem (ASX:AKE) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was St Barbara (ASX:SBM), closing 2.4 per cent lower at $1.41. It was followed by shares in Reliance Worldwide (ASX:RWC) and Life360 Inc. (ASX:360).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has gained 0.1 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 0.2 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has lost 0.8 per cent.

Wall Street

Over the last four trading days, the Dow Jones gained 1.6 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 2.2 per cent and the Nasdaq gained 3.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1811.70 an ounce.
Light crude is trading $1.03 higher at US$73.79 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.37 US cents.
Iron ore is 0.9 per cent higher at US$123.75 a ton.
Iron ore futures are flat.

Merry Xmas 

That’s a wrap for the week, Merry Xmas & happy holidays. The market will reopen next Wednesday.