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Make 2021 your best financial year yet!

ASX's flat finish to week of 3.47pct rise

Steven Deare
·4-min read

Australia's shares closed little changed but did better than those of many major markets, dragged down by a poor lead from the US on coronavirus infections.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed lower by 13.0 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 6405.2 on Friday.

The All Ordinaries closed down 10.1 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 6609.3.

The indices dipped early, after Wall Street gloom from new infections in the US surging above 100,000 for an eighth consecutive day.

Yet major ASX sectors such as financials and energy lost less than one per cent, while materials and health gained by the same measure.

ThinkMarkets analyst Carl Capolingua was happy with the flat finish.

"Really impressive from the ASX200 today. Given the leads we had from the US and Europe from the COVID situation, I think it's a tremendous performance," he said.

"It reinforces my view that we've turned the corner."

The ASX200 index closed to its highest level since February earlier this week after investors seized on Pfizer's claims it is developing a coronavirus vaccine which is 90 per cent effective.

Investors opted for shares that slumped during the pandemic, such as energy and banks, as they forecast a return to previous ways of living and spending.

The enthusiasm helped the index climb 3.47 per cent for the week.

While the ASX slipped in the last two sessions, Mr Capolingua said these were measured losses and the shift from stay-at-home stocks would be gradual.

Fund managers would consider the development of a vaccine against when it may be distributed to society, Mr Capolingua said.

"We won't see the move all at once," he said of buying patterns.

"I'd be surprised to see it continue to the end of this year."

State leaders believe they can better control the virus as more coronavirus restrictions are relaxed.

South Australia will lift border restrictions with Victoria on December 1, with no requirement for travellers to quarantine.

In Queensland, capacity in pubs and restaurants will increase to one person per two square metres inside venues.

Sporting and other seated venues will be allowed maximum capacity.

Western Australia will reopen its borders from Saturday. Some restrictions will remain for people from NSW and Victoria.

On the ASX, residential lender Resimac jumped 18.04 per cent to $1.93 after it said it expected half-year net profit of between $48 million and $53 million.

Resimac's full-year profit last financial year was $55.7 million.

Fashion and jewellery chain Lovisa said it bought more than 80 European stores of German wholesaler beeline GmbH for about $16.1 million.

Shares were up 14.46 per cent to $11.48.

Ramsay Health Care said operating results continued to be impacted by COVID-19 during the business' first quarter.

Costs rose in Australia due to using protective equipment, while elective surgery restrictions in Victoria only eased in September.

The company declined to give earnings guidance.

Shares were down 1.6 per cent to $66.88.

The big four banks were mixed. The Commonwealth did best, up 0.1 per cent to $73.14.

Miners were also mixed. BHP lost 1.87 per cent to $35.77, Rio Tinto shed 0.4 per cent to $96.09, while Fortescue gained 0.3 per cent to $16.59.

On Monday night, Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe will talk about monetary policy at a Committee for Economic Development dinner.

He will speak publicly again on Wednesday as part of a media panel.

On Thursday, jobs data for October will show how the economy is faring against COVID-19 restrictions.

The Aussie dollar was buying 72.30 US cents at 1723 AEDT, down from 72.73 US cents at Thursday's close.

ON THE ASX

* The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed lower by 13.0 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 6405.2 on Friday.

* The All Ordinaries closed down 10.1 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 6609.3.

* At 1723 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was lower by one point, or 0.02 per cent, to 6394.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 72.30 US cents, from 72.62 US cents on Thursday

* 75.88 Japanese yen, from 76.39 yen

* 61.25 Euro cents, from 61.73 cents

* 55.09 British pence, from 55.05 pence

* 106.05 NZ cents, from 105.77 cents.