ASX rallies on hopes for fourth rate cut

The Australian share market has risen broadly while the dollar has slumped to a one-month low after a rise in unemployment increased hopes for a fourth cash rate cut.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed Thursday up 36.7 points, or 0.55 per cent, to 6,735.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 6,840.8 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 6,840.8 points.

"The market's looking great," said Australian Stock Report market analyst Ben Le Brun. "The so-called Santa Claus rally is potentially taking place early this year.

"It's looking as if it is risk-on once again, on hopes that that the US and China can reach a trade deal, that the economic data (showing growth slowing) was an aberration and that central banks have got our backs.

"It's very conducive to a stock market rally, and that's what we've got," Mr Le Brun said.

Every sector was up except for financials, which fell marginally as NAB went ex-dividend.

CSL, Telstra and Woolworths were some of the biggest movers, as well as tech stocks Afterpay, Nearmap, WiseTech Global and Altium.

CSL hit a new intraday all-time high of $271.90 before retreating, closing up 1 per cent to $269.67.

The biotech giant is up 45 per cent on the year; Mr Le Brun called its recent performance jaw-dropping and wondered how long it could go before another stock split.

Telstra gained 2.6 per cent to hit a one-month high of $3.57 and Woolworths was up 2.4 per cent to $38.72.

NAB, trading ex-dividend, dropped 3.4 per cent to $27.80, while the other big banks were higher.

Commonwealth gained 0.7 per cent to $79.77 while ANZ and Westpac both rose 0.5 per cent, to $25.32 and $26.57, respectively.

Afterpay rose 7.5 per cent to $31.57 on broker upgrades following Wednesday's annual general meeting; digital mapping company Nearmap spiked 14.1 per cent to $2.84 after reaffirming its guidance; logistics software company WiseTech Global rose 1.5 per cent and printed circuit board design software company Altium was up 2.3 per cent.

BHP was subdued following word chief executive Andrew Mackenzie would be retiring, to be replaced by president of Australian mining operations Mike Henry on January 1. Its shares rose two cents to $36.81.

Fellow mining giant Rio Tinto gained 0.6 per cent to $92.36 while iron ore miner Fortescue Metals was up 0.7 per cent to $8.73.

Goldminers climbed as the price of the precious metal lifted, with Newcrest gaining 1.4 per cent, Evolution up 1.5 per cent and Northern Star rose 2.8 per cent.

AP Eagers dropped 8 per cent to $10.90 after Australia's largest car dealership group announced its profit was down six per cent so far this calendar year amid a lacklustre market for auto sales.

Childcare operator G8 Education fell 17.8 per cent to a one-year low of $2.13 after flagging its second profit downgrade in three months, saying that occupancy rates weren't growing as fast as expected, while wages were $3 million above forecast.

The Aussie dollar meanwhile hit its lowest level against its US counterpart since October 17 following the release of October jobs figures that showed unemployment unexpectedly rising to 5.3 per cent.

Expectations rose that the Reserve Bank would have to cut the cash rate again following the jobs data, with many expecting the cut to come in February.

The Australian dollar is buying 67.98 US cents from 68.54 US cents on Wednesday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 36.7 points, or 0.55 per cent, to 6,735.1 points

* The All Ordinaries closed up 35.2 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 6,840.8 points.

* At 1711 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down two points, or 0.03 per cent, to 6,737.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 67.98 US cents, from 68.51 US cents on Tuesday

* 73.91 Japanese yen, from 74.79 yen

* 61.82 euro cents, from 62.08 cents

* 53.01 British pence, from 53.25 pence

* 106.35 NZ cents, from 108.12 cents.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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