ASX posts gains as tech stocks shine

The Australian share market has climbed modestly for a second day, buoyed by the tech sector, while the Aussie dollar has hit a 10-year low against its US counterpart.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Wednesday up 29.4 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 6,500.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 35.2 points, or 0.54 per cent, to 6,600.8 points.

CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said while the moves were modest it was a "real high quality day" with the ASX moving higher throughout the session and outperforming its peers in the region.

The volatility index, sometimes called the fear index, dropped half a per cent to 15 per cent, Mr McCarthy said.

"That's still waving a red flag, but it's not flashing red as it was last week," he said.

The Australian dollar sank to its lowest levels against US dollar since February 2009, buying just 67.38 cents after declining 4.7 per cent against the greenback since mid-July.

Tech stocks were the biggest gainers on the ASX, up 3.6 per cent, with Appen rising 10.8 per cent to $27.37 ahead of its earnings report on Thursday.

Afterpay Touch rose 9.3 per cent to a three-month high of $28.28 - close to an all-time high of $28.70 set May 7 - after the buy-now, pay-later company reported both faster growth and higher losses than expected.

The market darling lost $42.9 million in the 12 months to June 30 but underlying sales rose 140 per cent to $5.2 billion, and Afterpay said it was gaining 12,500 new customers a day.

Logistics software company Wisetech Global gained 5.8 per cent to hit an all-time high of $36.50.

The mining sector was the second-biggest gainer, up 1.8 per cent, with BHP gaining 1.3 per cent to $35.42, Rio Tinto rising 2.5 per cent to $85.83 and South32 up 3.7 per cent to $2.54.

Goldminers were higher as the price of the precious metal hovered just below $US1540 an ounce, with Newcrest up 2.9 per cent, Evolution up 3.0 per cent and Northern Star up 2.7 per cent.

The big banks were all lower, with NAB down 1.3 per cent to $26.94, CBA down 0.5 per cent to $76.80, Westpac down 0.3 per cent to $27.54 and ANZ falling 0.5 per cent to $26.24.

Telecom stocks were 1.2 per cent lower as a whole, with Telstra falling 1.6 per cent to $3.68.

Radiology software company Pro Medicus gained 9.0 per cent to hit an all-time high of $36.26, its share price having risen by 32-fold since the start of 2015.

Speedcast dropped 33.2 per cent, on top of Tuesday's plunge 33 per cent plunge, to hit a fresh all-time low of 75.5 cents after several broker downgrades following Tuesday's earnings results.

Bellamy's dropped 1.4 per cent to $7.94 after the Tasmanian infant formula maker pushed out its medium-term revenue target due to uncertainty over when it might receive apporval to sell more product in China.

The Aussie dollar was buying buying 67.38 US cents, from 67.51 US cents on Tuesday.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 29.4 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 6,500.6.

* The All Ordinaries closed up 35.2 points, or 0.54 per cent, to 6,600.8.

* The SPI200 futures index closed up 42 points, or 0.65 per cent, to 6,472.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST

One Australian dollar buys:

* 67.38 US cents, from 67.51 US cents on Tuesday

* 71.27 Japanese yen, from 71.34 yen

* 60.77 euro cents, from 60.79 cents

* 54.90 British pence, from 55.27 pence

* 106.35 NZ cents, from 106.08 cents.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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