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Tech stocks recover, lifting ASX 1.9 pct

·4-min read

Australian shares have clawed back Thursday's losses with across the board gains, closing out a volatile week with the local bourse's best single-day performance in 15 weeks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Friday up 134.1 points, or 1.9 per cent, to 7,075.1. The broader All Ordinaries gained 141.1 points, or 1.97 per cent, to 7,307.7.

"It's looking much better today," said CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian.

"Over the course of the day, the market started off quite slowly, and has steadily been improving from those levels."

Sentiment may have been improved by Shanghai declaring that its COVID lockdowns would end May 20, the first time it has provided a clear timeline for opening up the city, Dahglian said.

But the gains really only reversed Thursday's losses, he noted.

"So it's not like we've found a new sense of optimism or anything," he said.

The ASX200 still finished the week down 1.8 per cent, in its fourth straight of declines, and hit a three-month low on Thursday.

"That downtrend that started in the middle of April, still seems intact for the time being, so I think the markets will be watching for a more significant catalyst," Daghlian said.

"It could have something to do with the COVID situation in China, or maybe good news out of Ukraine, but I think the main thing is going to be seeing inflation drop back from the multi-year highs we've seen in recent times."

All 11 of the ASX's official sectors gained ground on Friday, with tech rising by 7.0 per cent after Thursday's 8.7 per cent selloff -- the sector's worst day since March 2020.

Square - the worst performer on Thursday - was the best performer on Friday, rising , up 15 per cent to $114.88. Jack Dorsey's company is still down 19.6 per cent on the week, however.

Xero rose 9.4 per cent, Wisetech Global gained 7.3 per cent and Altium rose 7.1 per cent.

Health care gained 3.0 per cent as blood products giant CSL climbed 3.3 per cent to a three-month high of $280.20.

The heavyweight mining sector was up 1.6 per cent, not quite recovering from Thursday's losses. BHP advanced 2.0 per cent to $45.84, Rio Tinto climbed 2.1 per cent to $105.59 and Fortescue Metals was up 2.0 per cent to $19.39.

Goldminers Newcrest and Evolution both were down about half a per cent while Northern Star rose 0.4 per cent.

The big four banks lagged the rest of the financial sector, which was up 1.4 per cent as Macquire climbed 4.5 per cent.

NAB rose 1.0 per cent to $31.14 while Westpac and ANZ both rose by 0.9 per cent, to $24 and $25.39, respectively. CBA was up 0.1 per cent to $102.28.

Pro-Pac Packaging plummeted 17.9 per cent to a one-month low of $1.10 after announcing that it only expected to make about $5 million in profit this year, down from the $12 million to $16 million forecast last month.

Raw materials supply have been constrained by global sea freight restrictions; costs, particularly of resin, have been rising rapidly; and labour shortages have restricted productivity, Pro-Pac said.

Viva Energy gained 6.4 per cent to an all-time closing high of $2.83, a day after the Shell petrol station operator announced that it was enjoying "unprecedented" profit margins from its Geelong refinery, which allows Viva to import crude oil rather than rely on overseas refineries.

The sanctions on Russia and reduced exports from China have widened the usual gap between the cost of refined products, particularly diesel, and crude oil, Viva said.

Takeover target Virtus Health declined 0.4 per cent to $8.12 after the fertility company said that fresh IVF cycles were down 3.9 per cent in the 10 months to April 30, compared to a year ago.

The Australian dollar was recovering a bit after this afternoon dropping to a fresh 23-month low against its US counterpart.

The Aussie was buying 68.94 US cents, from 68.85 US cents at Thursday's close.


The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished up 134.1 points, or 1.93 per cent, to close at 7,075.1 on Friday.

The All Ordinaries index gained 141.1 points, or 1.97 per cent, to 7,307.7.


One Australian dollar buys:

68.94 US cents, from 68.85 US cents when the ASX closed on Thursday.

88.77 Japanese yen, from 88.87 yen.

66.28 Euro cents, from 65.78 cents.

56.49 British pence, from 56.45 pence.

110.37 NZ cents, from 110.27 NZ cents.

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