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ASX, Aust dollar up on US election result

Steven Deare
·4-min read

Australia's share market has closed at its highest level since March after investors were heartened by a decision in the US presidential election, and a split Congress preventing major policy change.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed higher by 108.6 points, or 1.75 per cent, to 6298.8 on Monday.

The All Ordinaries closed up 120.7 points, or 1.89 per cent, to 6515.7.

All industry sectors bar utilities were higher.

The ASX was at its best levels since March, when the indices were in the early weeks of freefall as severe coronavirus prevention measures were taken across Australia and the world.

US stock index futures rose on Sunday after president-elect Joe Biden was declared the election winner after days of counting.

President Donald Trump has vowed to challenge the result in the courts, although has yet to substantiate claims of electoral fraud.

Tribeca Investment Partners portfolio manager Jun Bei Liu said the session was a broad-based rally after the uncertainty over the result.

"A lot of investors pulled money out ahead of the election, and now they're putting it to work," she said.

Telecommunications was the best sector, up 3.31 per cent.

Materials, which includes the heavyweight miners, was next and gained 3.15 per cent.

Ms Liu said many investors sold materials stock in recent weeks due to China appearing to ban Australian exports such as rock lobster, timber and barley.

The miners are big exporters of iron ore.

"Investors were worried iron ore might be next," Ms Liu said of the Chinese bans.

However, Mr Biden's win has prompted optimism that US-China relations, and Australia-China relations, may improve.

Ms Liu said the rise for materials stocks was more money being deployed back into the market as a result.

The end to election uncertainty caused the US dollar to fall.

The Aussie dollar was buying 73.00 US cents at 1624 AEDT.

National Australia Bank foreign exchange head Ray Attrill said the end of uncertainty caused the US dollar to continue its slide from earlier this year when the Federal Reserve cut interest rates.

In Victoria, the travel barrier separating Melbourne from regional areas has been scrapped after the state regained control of the coronavirus.

The 25km travel limit for Melbourne residents has also been scrapped, and gyms and cinemas and other venues have been allowed to trade.

On the ASX, Pilbara Minerals was one of the big winners, up 11.36 per cent to 49 cents.

BHP rose 3.49 per cent to $35.88, Rio Tinto gained 2.88 per cent to $96.09 and Fortescue climbed 6.4 per cent to $17.61.

Broadcaster Nine has signed a $100 million deal with Rugby Australia to show Wallabies, Super Rugby and other games on its free-to-air and Stan subscription service.

Shares gained 2.18 per cent to $2.34.

Cinema and theme park operator Village Roadshow updated shareholders on the offer from Melbourne-based private equity firm BGH Capital.

Village has recommended shareholders accept BGH's offer to buy shares under two schemes for $2.32 and $2.22 per share.

Shares were up 2.62 per cent to $2.35.

In banking, ANZ traded ex-dividend and lost 1.94 per cent to $19.22. The Commonwealth was up 0.75 per cent to $70.31, NAB rose 0.97 per cent to $19.76 and Westpac shed 0.06 per cent to $17.76.

On Tuesday, building materials supplier James Hardie will give its half-year earnings.

The Federal Court will consider Bain Capital's attempt to buy airline Virgin Australia. The hearing is expected to be the last.

The Aussie dollar was buying 72.91 US cents at 1717 AEDT, higher from 72.65 US cents at Friday's close.

ON THE ASX

* The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed higher by 108.6 points, or 1.75 per cent, to 6298.8 on Monday.

* The All Ordinaries closed up 120.7 points, or 1.89 per cent, to 6515.7.

* At 1717 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was lower by six points, or 0.1 per cent, to 6298.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 72.91 US cents, from 72.66 US cents on Friday

* 75.47 Japanese yen, from 75.25 yen

* 61.33 Euro cents, from 61.48 cents

* 55.34 British pence, from 55.35 pence

* 107.12 NZ cents, from 107.06 cents.