Australia markets closed

Aust shares up for fourth straight day

Derek Rose
Tech stocks were the biggest gainers, and small cap companies also outperformed

The Australian share market has rebounded from early losses of almost one per cent to close higher for a fourth straight day.

After being down as many as 52.5 points in early trade the" S&P/ASX200 benchmark index climbed steadily higher most of the day to finish Wednesday up 13.5 points or 0.24 per cent, at 5,573 points.

The All Ordinaries index gained 21.3 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 5,680.1.

Pepperstone head of research Chris Weston while he would have liked to seen the market close above Tuesday's intraday high of 5,606.8, the gains pointed to the ASX climbing even higher.

"The market's had ever chance to roll over, and it didn't," he said.

"It feels like the stage is set for a continuous moving higher," with only shallow pullbacks, he said.

Ever since a phenomenal 26 per cent rally between March 23 and April 17, the market has been stuck moving sideways, but it seems like it has finally broken out of that range, Mr Weston said.

"Forget all that talk about valuations, that is a market that sensing better days ahead," he said.

"It feels like we've had a lot of bad news thrown at the market, and it keeps going up."

The market had opened lower after US investors overnight focused on a report questioning biotech Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.

The US company's early-stage trial results prompted rallies across the globe on Monday but a report in Statnews questioned the validity of the early readout.

Trading on the ASX was mixed on Wednesday, with five of the 11 sectors dropping and six gaining.

Tech stocks were the biggest winners, up 2.2 per cent as prepaid card company EML Payments rose 12.8 per cent on a trading update and aerial mapping company Nearmap climbed 9.4 per cent.

Industrials rose 1.6 per cent, in what Mr Weston said was an encouraging indication the market was showing signs of cyclicality.

Smaller companies outperformed larger ones, with the Small Ordinaries small cap index gaining 1.5 per cent while the ASX20 index of the country's biggest twenty companies was flat.

All the big banks were up, with CBA and NAB both climbing 0.7 per cent, to $60.07 and $15.60, respectively; while Westpac rose 0.6 per cent to $15.32 and ANZ finished up 0.5 per cent to $15.51.

In the heavyweight mining sector, BHP fell 0.9 per cent to $34.72, Rio Tinto declined 0.4 per cent to $94.16 but Fortescue Metals gained 0.2 per cent to $13.90 as iron ore futures rose to just under $US95 a tonne.

Alliance Aviation soared 23.8 per cent to $2.66 after announcing it expected its full-year profit to rise over 20 per cent this year because of increased demand for its services from mining clients as other airlines cut flights.

Australian Agricultural Company finished 3.3 per cent higher at $1.11 after it swung to a full-year profit of $31.3 million from a net loss a year ago, helped by the recovery in live cattle markets

Mortgage insurance provider Genworth said it would lose a contract with National Australia Bank but gained 5.0 per cent to $2.12.

Burn care biotech Avita Medical rose 1.1 per cent to 46 cents after announcing it plans to list on the Nasdaq.

Fletcher Building declined 2.8 per cent to $3.08 announcing it had lost NZ$55 million ($A51.3 million) after having to shut down 400 job sites during New Zealand's level 4 COVID-19 lockdown.

The Kiwi construction and building products company plans to lay off 500 workers in Australia and 1,000 in New Zealand as it forecasts less building activity in the year ahead.

The Australian dollar was buying 65.45 US cents, down from 65.46 US cents at the close of trade on Tuesday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed Wednesday up 13.5 points, or 0.25 cent, at, 5,573 points

* The All Ordinaries closed up 21.3 points, or 0.38 per cent, at 5,680.1 points

* At 1716 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was down five points, or 0.09 per cent, at 5,563 points

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 65.45 US cents, from 64.46 US cents on Monday

* 70.46 Japanese yen, from 70.33 yen

* 60.24 euro cents, from 59.87 cents

* 53.48 British pence, from 53.50 pence

* 107.32 NZ cents, from 107.76 cent.