- Australian benchmark index, the ASX 200, rallied 1% by the lunchtime.
- Eight of the 11 sectors traded in green, led by material and energy.
- Flight Centre, Redbubble topped gainers’ list, while NEXTDC declined the most.
- Sigma Healthcare and API shares surged on bidding war.
- NSW reported 787 new local coronavirus cases and 12 deaths in the past 24 hours.
Australian shares were trading near the day’s high by the mid-session as investors shrugged off uncertainty surrounding the potential default of China’s real estate giant Evergrande Group. The improving COVID-19 outlook and a rise in commodity prices also boosted investors’ appetite for riskier assets. The rally in blue-chip energy, mining and banking stocks also supported the market rally.
Benchmark index, the ASX 200, was trading 72.90 points or 1% higher at 7,415.50, by the lunchtime. Eight of the 11 sectoral indices were flashing in the green zone. Energy, material and financial sectors were the biggest gainers, while health care, tech and consumer staples declined the most.
Energy, mining stock lead market rally
The energy sector was the best performer with a 2.5% gain, owing to a rise in crude prices. The crude oil price rose to near-three-year highest levels on Monday amid supply disruption in the United States. Brent Crude oil futures for December delivery last traded at US$78.52 a barrel, up 1.67%, whereas WTI crude oil futures for November delivery rose 1.64% to US$751.7 per barrel. Index heavyweights Woodside (ASX: WPL), Oil Search (ASX: OSH), Beach Energy (ASX: BPT) and Santos (ASX: STO), were among top gainers.
The material sector also witnessed a surge in buying following a spurt in iron ore prices. Iron ore futures were up by 1.4% to US$120 per tonne. Sectoral leaders BHP (ASX: BHP), Rio Tinto (ASXX: RIO) and Fortescue (ASX: FMG) were trading high.
On the flip side, the health care sector declined 1.2% by mid-session. It was followed by the tech and financial sectors which traded lower with modest losses.
New South Wales (NSW) reported 787 new local coronavirus cases and 12 deaths in the past 24 hours. Victoria continued to register higher daily cases with 705 infections on Monday.
Top gainers and losers
The top performer on the ASX pack was leading Aussie retail travel outlet Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX:FLT) with a 9.4% gain. Some of the other notable gainers were online business Redbubble (ASX: RBL), financial services company IOOF Holdings (ASX:IFL), resource firm Iluka Resources (ASX:ILU) and online travel business Webjet (ASX:WEB).
On the losing side, tech firm NEXTDC (ASX:NXT) topped the losers’ chart with a 3.1% loss. Some of the other worst performers were agricultural business GrainCorp (ASX: GNC), investment management group Pinnacle Investment (ASX: PNI), software business Megaport (ASX:MP1) and health care firm Mesoblast (ASX:MSB).
SHARES IN NEWS
Image source: © Robynmac | Megapixl.com
CIMIC gains on bagging contract
Engineering conglomerate CIMIC (ASX: CIM) shares were trading 0.7% higher after its group company secured a contract extension. The group’s UGL has bagged a contract extension worth AU$150 million from Australian Terminal Operations Management (ATOM), a joint venture between UGL and BP.
Sigma Healthcare, API surge on bidding war
Sigma Healthcare (ASX: SIG) shares climbed 0.9% after the health care firm launched a takeover offer for Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX: API). Boosted by the development, API shares jumped nearly 5%.
Synlait Milk gains on board reshuffle
Shares of Synlait Milk (ASX:SM1) climbed 3.5% after milk powder maker appointed a new CEO and reshuffle its board. The company has appointed current Miraka CEO and former Fonterra executive Grant Watson as Synlait’s new chief.
Ampol rises as Z Energy grants two-week extension for due diligence
Shares of Australian petroleum company Ampol (ASX: ALD) rose nearly 1% after the energy firm got a two-week extension to firm up its takeover bid for Kiwi group Z Energy. Last month, Ampol proposed a AU$3.78 per share offer for the dual-listed Z Energy.
REX shares fly despite extension of suspension of operations
Shares of Regional Express Holdings (ASX:REX) jumped 5% after the country’s airline extended the suspension of its domestic operations and some regional services to the end of October.
Eagers Automotive rises as stocks turn ex-dividend
Shares of Eagers Automotive (ASX: APE) were up nearly 1% as the stock of the automotive retail group traded ex-dividend today.
ReadyTech soars on acquisition of Avaxa
Shares of software business ReadyTech Holdings (ASX:RDY) rose over 4% after it announced the strategic acquisition of Avaxa. The company offered a total consideration of AU$2.2 million, which was funded from the cash position. The acquisition will help expand ReadyTech’s presence in the enterprise education market. Avaxa offers student management software services to Australia’s leading enterprises.