ASX surges 1.2% on tech, energy boost; News Corp, ZIP, AGL lead

Highlights

  • The ASX 200 gained as much as 1.2% by mid-session.
  • Ten of 11 sectors were flashing in the green, barring healthcare.
  • Investors are delighted by upbeat PMI data for September.
  • News Corp topped the gainers’ list, while Reliance Worldwide declined the most.
  • NSW reported 1,063 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths in the past 24 hours. 

The Australian share market was in an upbeat mood on Thursday, surging over 1% on firm global cues and strong economic data. Market sentiment was boosted by Chinese property developer Evergrande’s partial debt payment, which eased fears of a potential default. The strong rally in US stocks in overnight trade as well as improvement in private sector activity back home also lifted sentiment. Adding to it, investors also reacted positively to the Federal Reserve meeting outcome in which the US central bank hinted at plans to begin bond tapering.

The benchmark index was trading 85 points or 1.16% higher at 7,381.90, by lunch. The index belled the day in a positive terrain, tracking positive cues from Wall Street.

US stocks finished higher on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve signalled to taper its stimulus soon, while an ease in concerns around Evergrande also lifted the sentiment. The Dow Jones and the NASDAQ Composite jumped 1% each, while the S&P 500 rose 0.95%.

Why ASX is in upbeat mood today?

Back home, investors cheered the September purchasing managers index (PMI) data, which showed a recovery chance for Australian economy. The latest IHS Markit flash PMI data showed that the private sector activity improved marginally in September over prior months, despite fragile business conditions  due to extension of COVID-19 restrictions. The Flash Australia Composite Output index inched up to 46 points this month, compared to 43.3 points in August.

Moving on to the sectoral front, ten of the 11 indices were trading in green zone, barring healthcare. The information technology was the best performer with a 2.8% gain, followed by 2.3% rise in the energy sector. Among others, utilities, telecom, financial and consumer discretionary also surged over 1%, while consumer staples, materials and A-REIT also traded firmly with decent gains.

On the COVID-19 front, NSW reported 1,063 new local coronavirus cases and six deaths in the past 24 hours. Victoria continued to see a surge in the case tally, with daily infections rising to 766. This is the highest single-day tally ever recorded in Victoria.

Top gainers and losers

News Corp, Bapcor, AGL Energy, Zip topped ASX gainers’ chart

Image source: Copyright © 2021 Kalkine Media

The top gainer on the ASX was media firm News Corp (ASX: NWS), which jumped 8.3% on its stock buyback plan. Some of the other notable gainers were automotive equipment provider Bapcor (ASX: BAP), travel services provider Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD), energy stocks AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) and payment solution company ZIP Co (ASX:Z1P).

On the flip side, plumbing products business Reliance Worldwide (ASX: RWC) topped the losers’ chart by falling 2%. Some of the other notable losers were gold miner St Barbara (ASX: SBM), mining firm Ramelius Resources (ASX: RMS), toll-road operator Transurban (ASX: TCL) and gold producer Northern Star Resources (ASX: NST).

Shares in news

Buzzing stocks: News Corp, Soul Patt, Premier Investments, Brickworks

Image Source: © Stbernardstudio   | Megapixl.com

Shares of media firm News Corp (ASX: NWS) jumped over 8% after it announced a US$1 billion stock buyback. This includes the company's Nasdaq-listed Class A common stock and Class B common stock.

Australia-based retail fashion chain Premier Investments (ASX: PMV) saw its share surging 3% after it reported robust annual earnings. The apparel retailer’s net profits after tax nearly doubled to AU$271.8 million, while revenue rose 16.8% to AU$1.46 billion as compared to the prior year.

Shares of investment firm Washington H. Soul Pattinson (ASX: SOL) traded 4% higher after releasing annual earnings report. The company’s regular profit after tax jumped 93% to AU$328.1 million, while statutory profit dropped 71% to AU$273.2 million as compared to the prior year.

Shares of building products manufacturer Brickworks (ASX: BKW) rose over 2% after it clocked record profit in the financial year ended June 30, 2021. The underlying net profit after tax rose 95% to AU$285 million, from the previous fiscal.

Transurban (ASX: TCL), one of the world’s leading toll-road operator, saw its shares dropping nearly 2%. The company informed its shareholders this morning that it has raised AU$2.9 billion to fund WestConnex acquisition.

Australia’s leading food brand Youfoodz Holdings (ASX:YFZ) issued an update about its new custom built facility project. The company has signed an Agreement for Lease with LOGOS Property Group for the construction and lease of a new production facility at Berrinba in Queensland.

Software firm Identitii (ASX:ID8) has inked a Master Technology Agreement (MTA) plus a 3-year licence agreement with Standard Chartered Australia (SCB). Following the announcement, the share price of the company jumped 17%.

Construction-ready lithium developer Core Lithium (ASX:CXO) has signed a Mining Services Agreement with Lucas Total Contract Solutions. The scope of work covers the construction and mining of the Grants Open Pit Mine including clear and grub, topsoil management, pads, roads, dumps, dams, bunds and water controls and open pit mining.

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