Optimism grows on ASX, all sectors up
The Australian share market has closed at its highest level this month, with gains across the board as optimism rose that the coronavirus lockdowns would soon be over.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index finished Monday up 70.1 points, or 1.3 per cent, at 5,461.2 points, while the All Ordinaries index gained 71.1 points or 1.3 per cent, to 5,559.1.
"It's a pretty good day today," said CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy.
It came despite more dismal economic news, with unemployment in the United States reaching 14.7 per cent, but there was a sense that the worst was over as Australia eased its coronavirus lockdowns.
"There seems to be a bit of optimism creeping back into the market," Mr McCarthy said.
Energy stocks led gains, rising 2.0 per cent as the price of Brent crude rose back over $US30 a barrel, with Woodside, Santos, Oil Search and Beach Energy all up between 1.7 and 2.3 per cent.
Cochlear gained 5.1 per cent to $191 after announcing that hearing implant surgeries were restarting in some major developed markets, including the US, Germany and Australia.
In the consumer discretionary sector, outdoor retailer Kathmandu gained 15.4 per cent, car dealership chain AP Eagers gained 10.8 per cent and Noni B owner Mosaic Brands soared 31.9 per cent as they began reopening stores.
Scentre Group rose 3.6 per cent after announcing 57 per cent of shops at its Westfield malls were open while fellow retail property group Vicinity Centres gained 4.6 per cent.
Afterpay closed up 5.7 per cent to $42.17, an all-time high and nearly five times its lows of late March, after Suncorp chief executive Lee Hatton reportedly resigned to take a job with the buy now, pay later company.
Rivals ZIp gained 6.4 per cent, Flexigroup rose 5.6 per cent, Openpay gained 10.5 per cent and Sezzle rose 2.7 per cent.
In the banking sector, Macquarie rose 6.0 per cent to $111.54 after announcing it would try to raise $400 million through capital notes.
The big banks were mostly up, with CBA gaining 0.9 per cent to $60.14, Westpac up 0.8 per cent to $15.63 and ANZ advancing 0.5 per cent to $15.81.
NAB dipped 0.6 per cent to $15.98.
Pendal Group gained 5.2 per cent to $6.05 after announcing half-year net profit was down 21 per cent to $54.8 million.
Suncorp rose 4.2 per cent to $9.28 despite outlining a pre-tax net loss of $205 million in its investment portfolio for the March quarter on account of volatility due to the coronavirus crisis.
In the heavyweight mining sector, BHP gained 0.5 per cent to $31.55, Rio Tinto gained 1.2 per cent to $83.99 and Fortescue Metals rose 0.6 per cent to $12.11.
One Australian dollar was buying 65.40 US cents, up from 65.23 US cents at Friday's close.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed Monday up 70.1 points, or 1.3 per cent, at 5,461.2 points
* The All Ordinaries closed up 71.1 points, or 1.3 per cent, at 5,559.1 points
* At 1723 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was down two points, or 0.04 per cent, at 5,476 points
One Australian dollar buys:
* 65.40 US cents, from 65.23 US cents on Friday
* 70.10 Japanese yen, from 69.40 yen
* 60.35 euro cents, from 60.21 cents
* 52.75 British pence, from 52.68 pence
* 106.68 NZ cents, from 106.57 cents.
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