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ASX rises despite weakness in mining

Derek Rose
Consumer staples, tech stocks and property were the biggest winners

The Australian share market has finished higher, closing on the highs of the day after a choppy session that saw it drift in and out of positive territory for much of the morning.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index ultimately closed up 49.5 points, or 0.83 per cent, at 5,991.8 points, while the All Ordinaries index finished Wednesday up 51.1 points, or 0.84 per cent, at 6,109.2.

"Very nice, indeed," said Pepperstone head of research Chris Weston.

"It's been a nice move up today. The Australian market does look quite good, we've certainly outperformed."

Mr Weston said he wouldn't have believed that in the morning that the market would be up 80 basis points, but the buyers took control towards the end of the day.

There was a defensiveness to the buying, though, Mr Weston said, with property trusts and consumer staples among the biggest gainers.

Afterpay continued its eye-popping run, hitting an all-time high of $58.46 before closing up 2.1 per cent to $57.73 - just a day after a 10.5 per cent gain.

Kogan.com also set an all-time high, rising 4.9 per cent to $14.05.

The big banks were mostly up, with CBA rising 0.7 per cent to $69.59, Westpac up 0.3 per cent to $18.15 and NAB advancing 0.6 per cent to $18.96.

ANZ was the outlier, dipping 0.4 per cent to $19.16.

The heavyweight mining sector, falling 0.6 per cent as both diversified miners and goldminers suffered losses.

BHP dropped 0.7 per cent to $36.02, Rio Tinto dipped 0.7 per cent to $98.87 and Fortescue Metals fell 1.8 per cent to $14.62.

Goldminers Evolution, Northern Star and Ramelius Resources were down between 1.1 and 1.6 per cent, while Newcrest dropped 0.3 per cent and Saracen fell 0.4 per cent.

In the consumer staples sector, A2 Milk rose 7.8 per cent to a two-month high of $19.10, while Woolworths gained 1.9 per cent to $36.95.

Carsales.com rose 6.2 per cent to $18 after announcing that it sales had been recovering in recent weeks.

Auckland Airport gained 3.9 per cent to $6.34 after gaining a waiver of its debt covenants from US investors.

SkyCity shares were in a trading halt after the Kiwi casino company announced a $A215 million equity raising to strengthen its balance sheet.

Wind farm operator Infigen gained 7.3 per cent to 88 cents after recommending an $835 million, 86-cents-per-share takeover bid from Spanish utility Iberdrola.

Ceiling fan and light globe maker Beacon Lighting Group gained 22.6 per cent to $1.22 after announcing it expected to grow its full-year net profit from the $16.5 million it made in 2018/19, even given the impacts of COVID-19.

The Australian dollar was buying 69.19 US cents, down from 69.41 US cents at the close of trade on Tuesday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Wednesday closed up 49.5 points, or 0.83 per cent, at 5,991.8 points

* The All Ordinaries closed up 51 points, or 0.84 per cent, at 6,109.1 points

* At 1742 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was up seven points, or 0.12 per cent, at 6,015 points

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 69.15 US cents, from 69.15 US cents on Tuesday

* 74.20 Japanese yen, from 74.21 yen

* 61.24 euro cents, from 61.00 cents

* 54.97 British pence, from 54.74 pence

* 106.90 NZ cents, from 107.09 cents.