ASX gains on signs China might compromise

The Australian share market has moved higher after signs that China is willing to raise penalties on intellectual property theft, a key sticking point in its trade war with the US.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index surged in the first hour of trade but then mostly dropped the rest of the day, giving up about half its gains to finish on Monday up 21.6 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 6,731.4 points.

The broader All Ordinaries was up 19.1 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 6,835.6 points.

"I'd say a good start to the day and the week and hopefully it carries over, and we get a good day's trading in London and New York," said Xchainge Global founder Nick Twidale.

"We're looking good, but beware of the trip down in the elevator as we're going up the staircase."

Telecom and energy shares had the largest gains, adding 1.1 per cent and 1.0 per cent respectively.

Telstra added 2.0 per cent to $3.63 while Caltex jumped 7.0 per cent to $29.79 after announcing it would launch a property IPO and float a 49 per cent stake in 250 retail sites.

Afterpay climbed 7.1 per cent to one-month closing high of $32.64 after an external audit into the buy now, pay later company largely backed its compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

The big four banks were mixed, with Westpac again the worst performer following AUSTRAC's allegations on Wednesday that the lender breached regulations set up to counter money-laundering and child-exploitation.

Westpac was dropped 1.3 per cent to $24.44, ANZ was down 0.1 per cent to $24.83, Commonwealth was up 0.4 per cent to $79.89 and NAB was down 0.8 per cent to $26.08.

The financial sector was overall down 0.2 per cent, as were consumer discretionary shares, the only two sectors to lose ground. Consumer staples were flat.

The mining sector was up 0.6 per cent as a whole, with BHP up 1.8 per cent to $37.75, Rio Tinto up 2.0 per cent to $95.92 and Fortescue Metals up 1.8 per cent to $9.67.

But goldminers were down as the price of the yellow metal hovered around $US1460 an ounce, with Newcrest, Evolution and Northern Star falling between 1.3 and 1.6 per cent.

Nufarm slumped more than 17.5 per cent to $5.08 as the agricultural chemicals maker said weak demand would likely hit its half-year result.

Sigma Healthcare rose 9.0 per cent to 72.5 cents after announcing it had reached a deal with the My Chemist/Chemist Warehouse Group for the supply of fast-moving consumer goods products, after the pharmacy chain had previously transitioned to another provider.

Receivables management company Collection House dropped 7.8 per cent to $1.12 after chief executive Anthony Rivas abruptly resigned, effective immediately.

Cann Group shares crashed 39.5 per cent to 44.5 cents, following the cannabis company announcing last week it would build its massive $184 million Mildura marijuana greenhouse in Victoria in stages, rather than all it once.

The Aussie dollar is buying 67.96 US cents, from 67.87 US cents on Friday.

In cryptocurrency, the price of Bitcoin was trading under $A10,000 for the first time since May, going for around $9,700 on Australian exchanges, down from over $13,000 at the start of the month and $11,000 last week.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 21.6 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 6,731.4 points.

* The All Ordinaries closed up 19.1 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 6,835.6 points.

* The SPI200 futures index closed up 22 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 6,742.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 67.96 US cents, from 67.87 US cents on Friday

* 73.98 Japanese yen, from 73.72 yen

* 61.62 euro cents, from 61.64 cents

* 52.89 British pence, from 52.54 pence

* 105.80 NZ cents, from 105.92 cents.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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