Aust stocks snap seven-day losing streak
The Australian share market has snapped a seven-day losing streak in which it lost over $250 billion in value over fears from the coronavirus epidemic.
The S&P/ASX200 index was up around midday as much as 132.8 points, or 2.1 per cent, but the gains moderated after the Reserve Bank of Australia only opted for a 25-basis point rate cut, rather than the double-size 50-point slash some were hoping for.
The index finished Tuesday up 44.2 points, or 0.69 per cent, to 6,435.7, while the broader All Ordinaries index gained 50.5 points, or 0.78 per cent, to 6,511.6.
"Today's session is obviously more positive session on the back of the stimulus from the RBA," said CommSec market analyst James Tao.
"That has helped stem the bleeding somewhat, but we're obviously well off session highs."
The gains left the ASX200 still down 3.7 per cent for the year and back at levels set in mid-August.
The tech and health care sectors were the biggest gainers, with both rising 2.5 per cent.
In health care, blood products giant CSL rose 2.3 per cent to $313, while ResMed gained 5.0 per cent and Cochlear climbed 5.1 per cent.
Tech stalwart Afterpay rose 6.2 per cent to $34.66 and Xero climbed 7.2 per cent to $79.94, while data centre provider NEXTDC gained 6.1 per cent.
The financial sector dipped 0.9 per cent as the big banks fell on fears the rate cut would squeeze lending profit margins.
Under pressure from the government, all of the big four banks said they would pass along the full rate cut to customers.
Commonwealth dropped 1.7 per cent to $79.11; ANZ and NAB both dropped 1.4 per cent, to $24 and $24.31, respectively; and Westpac declined 1.1 per cent to $22.94.
Fund managers were again under pressure, with Netwealth down 6.1 per cent, Pinnacle Investments down 3.3 per cent and HUB24 down 2.8 per cent, although Magellan Financial Group rose 2.6 per cent.
The energy sector was the only other one to decline, falling 0.3 per cent as Woodside dropped 1.0 per cent and Viva Energy fell 4.0 per cent to $1.78.
In the heavyweight mining sector, BHP rose 1.9 per cent to $33.99, Rio Tinto gained 2.9 per cent to $88.80 and Fortescue Metals climbed 3.3 per cent to $9.47.
Goldminers were subdued as the price of the precious metal hovered just under $US1,600 an ounce, with Newcrest flat, Northern Star up 0.2 per cent and Northern Star gaining 0.5 per cent.
Woolworths, trading ex-dividend, dropped 1.6 per cent to $38, while Wesfarmers declined 0.7 per cent to $40.30.
The Aussie dollar meanwhile gained after the RBA announced its rate cut decision.
At 1653 AEDT it was buying 65.45 US cents, up from 65.27 US cents on Monday as the stock market closed.
Looking forward, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is set to release fourth-quarter gross domestic product figures on Wednesday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Tuesday up 44.2 points, or 0.69 per cent, at 6,435.7 points.
* The All Ordinaries closed up 50.5 points, or 0.78 per cent, at 6,511.6 points.
* At 1655 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was up 24 points, or 0.38 per cent, at 6,368 points.
One Australian dollar buys:
* 65.45 US cents, from 65.27 US cents on Monday
* 70.55 Japanese yen, from 70.68 yen
* 58.72 euro cents, from 59.08 cents
* 51.21 British pence, from 50.85 pence
* 104.58 NZ cents, from 104.72 cents.
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