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ASX ends up 1.28pc despite Trump threat

Steven Deare
·4-min read

Investors on the Australian share market have finished the session with gains, despite Donald Trump's threat to contest the results of the US presidential election.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed up 77.5 points, or 1.28 per cent, to 6139.6 on Thursday, as Democrat challenger Joe Biden edged closer to victory and vote counting continued.

The All Ordinaries closed higher by 79 points, or 1.26 per cent, to 6344.

Investors capitalised on a good lead from the US, where their peers were buoyed by results showing a likely gridlocked Congress. This would make major policy changes difficult.

The ASX indices finished just below session highs, and behaved more consistently than the swings of Wednesday as early election results were declared.

Health was the top sector and gained 2.79 per cent.

Shaw & Partners chief investment officer Martin Crabb said it had been a fascinating day as investors tried to price a change in president.

"We're trying to work out what it all means for the market," he said.

He noted travel and gaming stocks had been winners.

Among the best was Pointsbet Holdings, which gained 7.1 per cent to $11.32. Aristocrat Leisure rose 3.57 per cent to $31.91.

Mr Trump threatened to challenge the election results of key states, and ask that vote counting be stopped.

The challenges, if successful, could delay politicians providing fiscal stimulus to the economy, which investors have been anticipating.

Yet ASX trade did not show any concern from investors. Mr Crabb was also unfazed.

"Most commentators say any recount or legal challenge will be unsuccessful," he said.

In Australia, the car market is showing signs of recovery after a coronavirus-induced slump earlier this year.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries says 81,220 new cars and trucks were sold in October, down just 1.5 per cent on the same month last year.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported the trade balance in September increased $3 billion to $5.63 billion.

It was the 33rd successive monthly trade surplus, with export values up four per cent and imports down six per cent.

National Australia Bank reported a 46.7 per cent slump in full-year earnings due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.

But the bank is cautiously optimistic about the future, saying federal government stimulus measures should "provide a bridge to economic recovery".

NAB's bottom line net profit fell to $2.6 billion for the year ended September.

The bank declared a fully franked final dividend of 30 cents per share.

Shares closed up 3.26 per cent to $19.31.

Among major rivals, ANZ rose 0.88 per cent to $19.47, the Commonwealth was up 1.84 per cent to $69.67 and Westpac increased 2.02 per cent to $17.70.

In the top performing health sector, CSL rose 3.45 per cent to $301.63.

Insurer NIB has paid more in hospital benefits during its first quarter as hordes of customers had treatment earlier postponed due to the pandemic.

NIB paid 3.2 per cent more than in the first quarter last year as elective surgery and other treatment resumed across most of Australia.

Shares were up 2.35 per cent to $4.35.

In mining, BHP lost 0.12 per cent to $34.24, Rio Tinto declined 0.84 per cent to $91.95 and Fortescue gained 0.85 per cent to $16.63.

On Friday, the Reserve Bank will give its Statement on Monetary Policy and Macquarie Bank will give half-year results.

The Aussie dollar was buying 71.72 US cents at 1724 AEDT, higher from 71.21 US cents at the close of trade on Wednesday.

ON THE ASX

* The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed up 77.5 points, or 1.28 per cent, to 6139.6 on Thursday.

* The All Ordinaries closed higher by 79 points, or 1.26 per cent, to 6344.

* At 1724 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was higher by two points, or 0.03 per cent, to 6126.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 71.72 US cents, from 71.21 US cents on Wednesday

* 74.84 Japanese yen, from 74.55 yen

* 61.10 Euro cents, from 60.95 cents

* 55.34 British pence, from 54.69 pence

* 107.06 NZ cents, from 106.79 cents.