(Australian Associated Press)
The Australian share market has finished higher for a fifth straight day, closing with its biggest gains in six-and-a-half weeks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Wednesday up 84.5 points, or 1.27 per cent, to 6,736.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 79.9 points, or 1.18 per cent, to 6,843.2 points.
It was the ASX’s best day since a 96-point rise on August 30.
“The market – there’s a rocket,” said Pepperstone head of research Chris Weston.
“I don’t really know what’s changed, but something’s changed.”
China’s Shanghai composite index was down as were S&P500 futures, leaving Mr Weston searching for reasons for the rally.
“It’s a difficult one. The macro headwinds, they’re still there, but they’ve dissipated to some extent that people have said, let’s let involved,” Mr Weston speculated.
Every sector was up except mining, which was flat, and tech shares, which dropped marginally after buy now, pay later companies came under pressure.
Consumer staples shares had the largest gains, collectively adding 2.1 per cent.
Freedom Foods gained 12.4 per cent, Treasury Wine Estate added 3.4 per cent, Synlait Milk climbed 5.7 per cent and Woolworths gained 2.5 per cent.
Telecom shares, consumer discretionary, health care, energy stocks, the financial sector and property trusts were all up between 1.3 and 2.0 per cent.
All of the big four banks were up, with Commonwealth gaining 1.4 per cent to $80.43, NAB up 1.5 per cent to $28.88, Westpac up 1.0 per cent to $29.24 and ANZ up 1.2 per cent to $28.16.
Macquarie climbed 1.6 per cent and Suncorp climbed 2.9 per cent.
CSL gained 1.9 per cent to hit a fresh all-time high of $253 after chairman Brian McNamee reaffirmed the blood product manufacturer’s guidance at the firm’s annual general meeting.
Tech stocks were down 0.05 per cent after UBS initiated coverage on Afterpay Touch and Zip Co with a sell rating and bearish price targets.
Afterpay dropped 7.2 per cent to $33.92 and Zip dropped 3.9 per cent, while their competitors Flexigroup fell 3.2 per cent and Sezzle dropped 4.4 per cent.
Elsewhere in the tech sector, Xero climbed 2.4 per cent to $70.14, breaking the $70 mark for the first time, while Wisetech Global fell 2.8 per cent.
In the mining sector, BHP dipped 0.1 per cent to $36.04, Rio Tinto dropped 0.9 per cent to $89.81 and Fortescue Metals fell 1.6 per cent to $8.50.
Northern Star dropped 2.1 per cent as it gained control of fellow goldminer Echo Resources, acquiring a 59.3 per cent interest.
AGL Energy gained 0.6 per cent to $19.45 after offering $27.5 million to buy regional telecom firm Southern Phone Company, its second attempt this year to expand into the telco sector after its failed Vocus bid.
Challenger gained 5.0 per cent to $7.19 after announcing its assets under management increased by 3 per cent in the first quarter, to $84 billion.
WorleyParsons gained 4.0 per cent to $13.62 after confirming it had gone to the Foreign Investments Review Board to try and stave off further “creeping acquisitions” by Dar Group, its largest shareholder.
The Aussie dollar is buying 67.37 US cents, from 67.76 US cents on Tuesday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 84.5 points, or 1.27 per cent, to 6,736.5 points
* The All Ordinaries closed up 79.9 points, or 1.18 per cent, to 6,843.2 points.
* The SPI200 futures index closed up 87 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 6,718.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT
One Australian dollar buys:
* 67.38 US cents, from 67.76 US cents on Tuesday
* 73.23 Japanese yen, from 73.40 yen
* 61.06 euro cents, from 61.40 cents
* 52.76 British pence, from 53.65 pence
* 107.44 NZ cents, from 107.53 cents.