Tale of two telecoms
The Australian share market built on a solid lead-in from Wall Street, with the tech sector leading the way, up 1.9 per cent on the back of enthusiasm emanating from the so-called “Magnificent Seven” US tech stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 added 18.3 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 6995.4, while the broader All Ordinaries rose 21.8 points, also 0.3 per cent, to 7,198.4. Nine of the ASX’s 11 sectors finished in the green.
The tech sector was boosted by WiseTech, which rose $1.43, or 2.3 per cent, to $63.64; Xero advanced $1.73, or 1.5 per cent, to $114.72; and Altium was up 97 cents, or 2.4 per cent, to $42.23.
Telstra gained 5 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $3.92, after being up 2.3 per cent at one point, as it was perceived as benefiting from the big outage at rival Optus. In Singapore, the shares of Optus’ owner Singapore Telecom were down 5.2 per cent on the news, and finished down 4.8 per cent for the day.
In other industrial news, building materials company James Hardie surged $5.68, or 13.8 per cent, to $46.97, on positive quarterly results. Magellan Financial Group shares edged 4 cents higher, or 0.6 per cent, to $6.98 despite shareholders delivering an emphatic first strike against the remuneration report, at the annual general meeting.
Banks up, resources down
The big banks all improved, recovering some of Tuesday’s losses. Commonwealth Bank rose 68 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to $100.69; Westpac added 32 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to $21.65; National Australia Bank appreciated 13 cents, or 0.5 per cent, to $29.17; and ANZ closed 9 cents, or 0.4 per cent, higher at $25.56.
The property majors were catching bids, with Goodman Group rising 40 cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $22.33; Stockland up 7 cents, or 1.9 per cent, to $3.86; the Charter Hall Group headstock gaining 23 cents, or 2.4 per cent; to $9.97; and Dexus advancing 15 cents, or 2.2 per cent, to $6.92.
Weaker-than-expected Chinese trade data dragged iron ore and coal prices lower, weighing on the big miners. BHP dropped 86 cents, or 1.9 per cent, to $44.70; Fortescue Metals lost 26 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $23.10; and Rio Tinto fell $2.44, or 2 per cent, to $119.37.
In coal, Whitehaven Coal managed a gain of 3 cents, to $6.83; New Hope Corporation advanced 4 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $5.28; Yancoal Australia gained 13 cents, or 2.8 per cent, to $4.70; but Stanmore Resources slipped 5 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $3.68; and Coronado Global Resources softened 5.5 cents, or 3.2 per cent, to $1.66.
On lower oil prices, Woodside Energy fell 19 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to $33.35; and Brazilian-based producer Karoon Energy slipped 5 cents, or 2.1 per cent, to $2.35; but Beach Energy gained 2.5 cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $1.53.
Streak continues on Wall Street
In the US, the broad S&P 500 index rose for an eighth consecutive day on Wednesday, extending its longest win streak in two years.
The 500 added just 4.4 points, to finish at 4,382.78, but all that matters is the positive close, meaning the gauge matched an eight-day string of gains it notched in November 2021. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 10.56 points, to 13,650.41, while the 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 40.33 points, to 34,112.27.
With Wednesday’s gains, the S&P is up 4.5 per cent for November, while the Nasdaq has jumped 6.2 per cent, and the Dow Jones is up 3.2 per cent for the month.
These gains come as earnings season winds down. About 88 per cent of S&P 500 companies have posted results, with more than 88 per cent beating earnings estimates. But only 62 per cent have exceeded revenue expectations, and the outlook statements from some companies have been markedly cautious.
In the bond market, the US 10-year Treasury yield eased 7.1 basis points, to 4.497 per cent, while the 2-year yield slipped 0.4 basis points, to 4.928 per cent.
Gold lost US$18.78, or 1 per cent, to US$1,950.18 an ounce, while the global benchmark Brent crude grade dropped US$1.81, or 2.2 per cent, to US$79.80 a barrel, and US West Texas Intermediate oil weakened US$1.74, or 2.3 per cent, to US$75.63.
The Australian dollar is buying 63.99 US cents this morning, down from 64.3 cents at the ASX close on Wednesday.