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Afterpay, Zip crash but ASX closes higher

·4-min read

Buy now, pay later providers had a spectacular crash, but the ASX continued to creep towards record levels.

Afterpay, Zip and their rivals plummeted after a Bloomberg report that Apple plans to allow users to repay Apple Pay purchases in instalments.

Zip lost 11.38 per cent to $7.32. Lesser-known rival Sezzle shed 10.26 per cent to $7.96.

Market leader Afterpay lost 9.59 per cent to $107.00.

Yet most industry categories of shares were up.

Consumer staples gained 0.94 per cent while the heavyweight category of materials was better by 0.67 per cent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 22.6 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 7354.7.

A good day for investors tomorrow could see the index better the record close of 7386.1, set in June.

The All Ordinaries on Wednesday closed higher by 19.6 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 7631.8.

The ASX proved a better performer against most Asian markets.

Meanwhile New Zealand's central bank surprised most investors with a plan to scrap pandemic policy.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand will end its bond buying program from next week.

The Kiwi dollar climbed against most currencies, including the Aussie dollar, on the news.

In the US, investors will look for Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell's reaction to the biggest rise in inflation in 13 years.

Mr Powell will address Congress over two days and discuss why consumer prices rose 5.4 per cent for the 12 months ending in June.

Rising inflation, which erodes the value of investments, could put pressure on the central bank to act.

The inflation finding contributed to US markets closing lower.

In Australia, the coronavirus lockdown for Sydney and surrounds has been extended to at least July 30.

The federal government on Tuesday offered additional financial support for businesses and people affected by lockdowns across the country.

On the ASX, one of the big movers was Macquarie Telecom Group after shares jumped 15.43 per cent to $63.50.

The company filed plans to build a major data centre in Sydney.

Macquarie also confirmed full-year earnings are expected to be between $72 million and $75 million.

Spark Infrastructure called a stop to trading of its shares and said it had news coming.

Shares last traded higher by 7.61 per cent to $2.47.

Seven Group continues buying shares in materials supplier Boral and has raised its stake to more than 48 per cent.

Seven, which also owns the Westrac machinery business, has been building its stake for weeks.

Seven shares were up 3.49 per cent to $22.85.

Boral shares were down 0.54 per cent to $7.35.

Gold miner Bellevue Gold has been offered up to $289 million in debt to help fund a project in Western Australia.

A host of lenders have offered the loans for the project, which is still in the feasibility stage.

Bellevue shares were up 1.98 per cent to $1.03.

The biggest miners on the market had an uneventful session.

BHP gained 0.51 per cent to $50.96 while Fortescue and Rio Tinto were little changed.

The big banks were mixed. ANZ was down 0.61 per cent to $27.65. The Commonwealth was up 0.4 per cent to $98.78. NAB was better by 0.08 per cent to $26.26. Westpac lost 0.24 per cent to $25.27.

The Australian dollar was buying 74.57 US cents at 1726 AEST, lower from 74.88 US cents at Tuesday's close.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 22.6 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 7354.7 on Wednesday.

* The All Ordinaries closed higher by 19.6 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 7631.8.

* At 1726 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was down 10 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 7260.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 74.57 US cents, from 74.88 cents on Tuesday

* 82.39 Japanese yen, from 82.70 yen

* 63.25 Euro cents, from 63.16 cents

* 53.88 British pence, from 54.00 pence

* 106.30 NZ cents, from 107.18 cents.

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