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The ASX has just set a new record high, shooting upwards despite the looming shadow of the coronavirus

Jack Derwin
  • The Australian share market continues to climb higher despite the still unknown impact of the Wuhan coronavirus.
  • Setting a new record high of 7,144 points on Wednesday, it again surpassed it on Thursday during early trading, .
  • While $2.6 billion was wiped from software company Wisetech Global on Wednesday, company earnings have broadly not been much worse than expected.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Up, up and away.

On the back of strong company earnings, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) closed on Wednesday at 7,144 points, an all-time high and looks like going even higher again.

As of 8:30 am on Thursday, futures trading pointed to a modest gain of about 15 points or around 0.2% among Australia's top 200 listed companies. After the opening bell, the ASX 200 began moving higher again.

The booming stock market comes in the midst of interim profit season, as a whole tranche of Australia's biggest names check in with how they're tracking this year, and providing a good indication of what they expect over the remainder of the year.

While the coronavirus outbreak remains a major concern for companies with exposure to China and dependent on Chinese students and tourists, the broader sharemarket continues to climb higher.

Gaming empire Crown Resorts, travel agent Corporate Travel Management and software darling WiseTech Global all reported on Wednesday and received varying receptions.

The stock price of Crown and Corporate Travel particularly have plunged since January saw travel bans from China and Australia come into play, presumably punching a hole in each of their yearly earnings. While Corporate Travel downgraded its forward guidance, it was largely expected and neither saw any major selling.

Wisetech was a different story. The software cloud company which has more than doubled its stock price in two years, lost $2.6 billion – or more than 27% of its stock price – as it warned investors its global logistics would be heavily impacted in the short-term.

It largely remains an outlier this reporting season, with most companies having taken a hit earlier in the year when the coronavirus began making headlines. Fortescue Metals, an iron ore miner thought to be hurt by reduced demand from China, also shook off doubts on Wednesday. Healthcare heavyweights Cochlear and CSL meanwhile soared 11% and 3% respectively, flirting with or setting their own record highs.

On Thursday, Sydney Airport and Qantas will be in the spotlight to see how they are coping with reduced travel. Similarly next week, investors will be keeping a close eye on how Chinese demand is faring for Blackmores, Rio Tinto, and A2 Milk, among others.

Pending any major surprises, the Australian share market, for now, looks only to be headed higher.