Healthcare stocks among ASX winners

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Healthcare stocks among ASX winners

The Australian sharemarket gained ground for the second straight day, with healthcare, technology and bank stocks among the winners.

The S&P/ASX200 finished 0.43 per cent higher at 6715.3 while the All Ordinaries Index added 0.41 per cent to 6982.7.

CommSec analyst Steve Daghlian said the market didn’t react significantly to Donald Trump becoming the first US president to be impeached twice “because it doesn’t really change much”.

Mr Daghlian said tech and healthcare stocks bounced back impressively after being the worst performers earlier this week.

Orthocell rocketed 27.17 per cent to 58.5 cents after achieving clearance to market and supply its CelGro collagen medical device for dental bone and tissue regeneration procedures in the US.

Pro Medicus soared 14.98 per cent to $36.53 after signing a seven-year, $40 million deal with the largest healthcare provider in the Intermountain West region of the US for its Visage imaging technology.

Hearing devices pioneer Cochlear lifted 4.85 per cent to $189.46 and stem cell therapy company Mesoblast rose 3.28 per cent to $2.52.

Buy now pay later market leader Afterpay surged 9.74 per cent to $121 after receiving a broker upgrade while smaller rivals Zip Co put on 4.95 per cent to $5.72 and Sezzle advanced 7.54 per cent to $6.99.

ANZ advanced 1.82 per cent to $24.60, Commonwealth Bank found 0.42 per cent to $86.33, National Australia Bank firmed 1.28 per cent to $23.78 and Westpac was 2.09 per cent stronger at $21.03.

Fuel retailer Ampol posted a $4 million fourth quarter earnings loss for its Lytton refinery near Brisbane, an asset it is reviewing for potential closure.

The result was better than expected, mainly due to stronger than anticipated margins, and was described by RBC Capital Markets as “promising”.

Shares in Ampol, which warned economic conditions in 2021 remained uncertain, partly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fuel demand, inched 0.11 per cent higher to $28.58.

Kitchen appliances maker Breville appreciated 4.54 per cent to $26.69.

Rio Tinto dropped 0.89 per cent to $119.66 despite inking an electricity price agreement allowing its 79 per cent-held New Zealand aluminium smelter to keep operating until the end of 2024.

The miner had announced in July plans to wind down the operation by August this year due to high energy and transmission costs.

BHP was 0.35 per cent softer at $46.06 and Fortescue slipped 1.63 per cent to $24.76.

Whitehaven Coal gained 3.14 per cent to $1.80 after issuing its December quarterly report and saying China’s ban on Australian imports had little impact on its sales base but had weakened prices for metallurgical coal used in steelmaking.

The miner also said seaborne markets for thermal coal, used in power production, continued to rise from the low point hit in August due to supply curtailments coupled with increased energy demand in Asia.

The Aussie dollar was buying 77.5 US cents, 56.81 British pence and 63.78 Euro cents in afternoon trade.

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