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ASX ends week up but virus rages overseas

Steven Deare
·4-min read

Australia's share market closed lower after a negative US lead and concern rising coronavirus infections in Europe will lead to more lockdowns.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark closed lower by 33.5 points, or 0.54 per cent, to 6176.8 on Friday.

However the week was a good one for investors. The ASX200 finished 1.22 per cent higher.

The All Ordinaries index finished the Friday session lower by 29.2 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 6385.

Investors only had to look at the reasons for the negative leads to be reminded how much better the Australian economy is faring in the coronavirus recession.

Higher than expected US jobless claims, and renewed virus restrictions in a number of European countries led US and European markets lower.

France announced a 9pm curfew in Paris and other cities. Londoners face new restrictions on indoor gatherings. The Netherlands closed bars and restaurants. The Czech Republic and Northern Ireland shut schools. Poland limited restaurant hours and closed gyms and pools.

National Australia Bank director economics and markets Tapas Strickland was watching Europe as winter approaches.

"The rise in COVID infections in Europe is starting to be seen more by global investors," he said.

"I think that's worth watching for the broader market."

In Australia, there was better news. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the state is well placed to ease restrictions on Sunday, after two new cases and no deaths in the last report.

In NSW, restrictions were eased to allow up to 500 people at open-air concerts. Limits on outdoor dining were also relaxed.

Meanwhile the first passengers from New Zealand landed in Sydney as part of trans-Tasman travel arrangements. Kiwis can travel to New South Wales and the Northern Territory, and are not required to stay in quarantine on arrival.

On the ASX, industrials and energy were the worst performers, down 1.3 and 1.1 per cent respectively.

Rio Tinto's third quarter iron ore production improved to be one per cent below the same period last year as staff returned to pre-COVID work rosters.

The miner produced 86.4 million tonnes of iron ore, and has produced two per cent more after three quarters than the same time last year.

Shares ended lower by 0.85 per cent to $95.45. BHP was down 1.41 per cent to $36.25 while Fortescue was up 0.06 per cent to $16.63.

Bendigo Bank and payments provider Tyro had a great session after a partnership deal.

Tyro will provide its payments technology to the bank's business customers, while the bank will refer business opportunities to Tyro.

Tyro shares boomed by 5.87 per cent to $4.15, while Bendigo shares gained 2.54 per cent to $6.86.

Among other banks, ANZ lost 0.26 per cent to $19.31, the Commonwealth shed 0.06 per cent to $69.24, NAB crept lower by 0.05 per cent to $19.22 and Westpac edged down by 0.64 per cent to $18.66.

The best large capitalisation performer was Nickel Mines, which gained 15.58 per cent to 89 cents.

It took a majority interest in a nickel project in Indonesia. The $US490 million deal will help the company double production within two years.

Earlier in the US, all three main indices finished lower and investors lost hope of economic stimulus before the November 3 election.

Items of interest to investors next week include September retail sales figures, Reserve Bank meeting minutes and its deputy governor Guy Debelle will speak.

The Aussie dollar was buying 70.75 US cents at 1717 AEDT, lower from 71.33 US cents at the close of trade on Thursday.


* The S&P/ASX200 benchmark closed lower by 33.5 points, or 0.54 per cent, to 6176.8 on Friday.

* The All Ordinaries index finished the session lower by 29.2 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 6385.

* At 1717 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was higher by one point, or 0.02 per cent, at 6165.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 70.75 US cents, from 71.23 US cents on Thursday

* 74.47 Japanese yen, from 74.97 yen

* 60.44 Euro cents, from 60.62 cents

* 54.89 British pence, from 54.79 pence

* 107.32 NZ cents, from 107.17 cents.