Australia’s share market has snapped a three-day losing streak after investors appeared confident Sydney’s coronavirus outbreak would be contained, and ignored a Donald Trump threat to US stimulus.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed higher by 43.5 points, or 0.66 per cent, to 6643.1 on Wednesday despite Wall Street worries about a more-infectious coronavirus variant in the UK.
The index reached a session high of 6661.2 in the second hour of trade.
The All Ordinaries closed up 47.1 points, or 0.69 per cent, to 6892.6.
All sectors were higher except materials, after metals prices fell.
Property had the greatest rise of 2.11 per cent. Consumer discretionaries were next, up 1.41 per cent.
Investors appeared confident the Sydney coronavirus cluster can be contained after infections from the outbreak rose by only eight to 97.
GSFM investment strategy consultant Stephen Miller said it was hard to tell the reasons for investors’ change of mood, given low trading volumes.
“I wouldn’t want to over-analyse why the market has done what it’s done but tentatively, investors are drawing the conclusion that the Sydney virus cluster is under control,” he said.
Investors sold travel stocks in recent days but snapped them up on Wednesday.
Airline Regional Express, which said it would ask shareholders next month to vote for it to start flying between major Australian cities, closed 5.51 per cent higher to 2.01.
Webjet gained 4.58 per cent to $5.02 and Flight Centre rose 4.49 per cent to $15.59.
ASX investors appeared unmoved by US President Donald Trump’s threat to block economic stimulus.
Mr Trump has threatened not to sign a $US892 billion ($1.2 trillion) coronavirus relief bill and wants to increase the amount in the stimulus cheques.
Mr Miller believed Trump’s comments contributed to US futures being down.
However, “I don’t expect it will have a huge impact,” Mr Miller said of Mr Trump’s threat.
“We will have a new administration soon.”
Australia’s trade surplus for goods dropped to its lowest level in two years after China stopped buying some exports.
The goods trade surplus for November was $1.9 billion after exports rose just one per cent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The surplus for October was $4.7 billion.
China put tariffs on Australian exports including barley, beef, coal, cotton, seafood, timber and wine.
On the ASX, the property sector was helped by Stockland rising 3.61 per cent to $4.31.
The company said it would look for partners to develop an industrial property portfolio of $1 billion.
The energy sector had a 1.26 per cent rise despite falls in oil prices.
Woodside Petroleum said it completed buying a stake in an oil project off the coast of Senegal.
The company, through subsidiary Woodside Energy, paid $US300 million for the stake.
Shares closed higher by 1.12 per cent to $22.57.
Big miners closed lower. BHP was worst, down 1.03 per cent to $42.45.
In banking, the Commonwealth was best of the big four and rose 0.92 per cent to $83.18.
On Thursday, the share market will have a shortened session and close at 1410 AEDT before the Christmas public holiday on Friday.
The Aussie dollar was buying 75.48 US cents at 1726 AEDT, lower from 75.59 US cents at Tuesday’s close.
ON THE ASX
* The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed higher by 43.5 points, or 0.66 per cent, to 6643.1 on Wednesday despite a mixed lead from Wall Street.
* The All Ordinaries closed up 47.1 points, or 0.69 per cent, to 6892.6.
* At 1726 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was higher by 11 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 6576.
One Australian dollar buys:
* 75.48 US cents, from 75.59 cents on Tuesday
* 78.08 Japanese yen, from 78.26 yen
* 61.95 Euro cents, from 61.90 cents
* 56.28 British pence, from 56.44 pence
* 107.05 NZ cents, from 107.14 cents.