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Reopening buzz lifts travel shares, ASX

·3-min read

There was a reopening buzz on the Australian share market as NSW and Victoria's plans to emerge from lockdown sent travel stocks soaring.

The banks also made considerable improvement on Monday, as investors anticipate the two biggest state economies improving from next month.

Qantas fast-tracked plans to resume flights for the eastern states after leaders in the past couple of days revealed timelines for easing coronavirus rules.

The travel stock surge included:

* Qantas up 2.84 per cent to $5.80.

* Flight Centre surged 7.48 per cent to $21.27.

* Webjet jumped 5.21 per cent to $6.46.

* Corporate Travel Management climbed 3.12 per cent to $24.44.

Banks were the major influence on the market as the indices stayed higher throughout trade.

The Commonwealth Bank was best of the big four and closed higher by 2.84 per cent to $104.59.

Energy providers were the top performing category.

Oil prices climbed for a fifth consecutive day. Demand is improving as some parts of the world ditch virus rules on travel.

Beach Energy shares gained more than four per cent. Woodside shares rose by more than three per cent.

The less economically sensitive categories of healthcare and consumer staples were among those out of favour. Technology shares were also unpopular.

Market giant CSL slipped 1.84 per cent to $306.26.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 41.6 points, or 0.57 per cent, to 7384.2.

The All Ordinaries closed up 41.4 points, or 0.54 per cent, to 7690.7.

Investors were unconcerned by troubled property group Evergrande having missed a payment deadline last week.

The company owes $US305 billion ($A418 billion) and some are worried a collapse could pose systemic risks to China's financial system.

In ASX company news, Sigma Healthcare started a contest to buy pharmacy operator Australian Pharmaceutical Industries and claimed to have trumped Wesfarmers.

The Amcal chemist operator offered 35 cents and 2.05 Sigma shares for each API share.

Sigma claimed its offer was worth $1.57 per share, based on the most recent closing price of Sigma shares.

Wesfarmers earlier this month raised its bid to $1.55 per share.

API shares closed higher by 3.07 per cent to $1.51.

Sigma shares were up 1.68 per cent to 60 cents.

Wesfarmers shares were up 0.21 per cent to $57.48.

In mining, there were decent gains for a couple of the big players.

Fortescue improved by 2.67 per cent to $15.75. Rio Tinto rose 1.15 per cent to $100.47. BHP was even at $37.72.

Synlait Milk shares surged after the company revealed its next boss and a plan to return to profit this financial year.

Grant Watson from rival dairy company Miraka will lead Synlait's plan to cut costs and improve its drinks and consumer foods earnings.

Synlait posted a loss of $NZ28.5 million for the year ended July 31.

Shares were up 7.14 per cent to $3.45.

Engineer group CIMIC gained a $150 million contract extension to maintain BP fuel terminals.

CIMIC subsidiary UGL will carry out engineering services as part of the multi-year deal.

Shares were up a little more than one per cent to $20.00.

The Australian dollar was buying 72.78 US cents at 1725 AEST, lower from 72.96 US cents at Friday's close.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 41.6 points, or 0.57 per cent, to 7384.2 on Monday.

* The All Ordinaries closed up 41.4 points, or 0.54 per cent, to 7690.7.

* At 1725 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was down nine points, or 0.12 per cent, at 7344 points.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 72.78 US cents, from 72.96 cents on Friday

* 80.52 Japanese yen, from 80.42 yen

* 62.16 Euro cents, from 62.00 cents

* 53.18 British pence, from 53.07 pence

* 103.66 NZ cents, from 103.21 cents.

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