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(Australian Associated Press)
The Australian share market has closed just slightly higher for a fourth straight day, with investors apparently afraid to push the ASX200 above the 6,000 level.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Wednesday up 11.3 points 0.19 per cent, at 5,965.7 points, while the All Ordinaries index was up 12.3 points, or 0.2 per cent lower, at 6,081.6.
While the gains weren’t much, it was actually the ASX200’s biggest move since Friday.
“A slow grind higher, much like we’ve seen in previous sessions,” Burman Invest chief investment officer Julia Lee said.
“We just keep bumping up on that 6,000 level.”
With the tech-heavy NASDAQ in the US setting a record high, tech stocks were among the biggest gainers, collectively rising 1.2 per cent.
Afterpay set another record high, breaking through the $60 mark for the first time and trading as high as $62.99 after the buy now, pay later giant announced late on Tuesday its UK subsidiary Clearpay had gained one million customers in its first year.
Fellow Aussie tech darlings Appen and Xero also had record highs, gaining 2.3 per cent to $34.44 and 2.1 per cent to $90.67, respectively.
CSR dropped 1.3 per cent to $3.76 as executives told the company’s annual general meeting that Australian revenue had been down 3.0 per cent in the first 11 weeks of the year.
“It does seem like the Australian housing market is quite soft,” said Ms Lee, noting the stark comparison to US-focused James Hardie Industries, which raised its guidance on Monday.
Freedom Food dropped 14.5 per cent to $3.01 after announcing chief executive Rory Macleod was on leave, a day after the resignation of its chief financial officer.
Shares of the cereals, snacks and dairy manufacturer were placed in a trading halt mid-afternoon, pending another announcement.
TPG gained 0.5 per cent to $9.02 after its shareholders overwhelming approved its merger with Vodafone Australia, while Vodafone Australia co-owner Hutchison Telecommunications shares gained 6.1 per cent to 17.5 cents.
Assuming the Federal Court gives its approval on Friday, shares in the merged company, TPG Telecom, will begin trading on the ASX on Tuesday under stock code TPG.
Sonic Healthcare gained 4.7 per cent to $30.33 after the world’s third-largest laboratory medicine company announced it expected flat earnings this year as it bounced back from the pandemic.
Elsewhere, CSL gained 1.1 per cent to $292.36, while Transurban dropped 3.3 per cent to $14.30.
The big banks were lower except for CBA which gained 0.3 per cent to $69.24.
Westpac fell 0.4 per cent to $18.06, NAB dipped 0.6 per cent to $18.55 and ANZ retreated 0.8 per cent to $18.83.
In the heavyweight mining sector, BHP rose 0.7 per cent to $35.90, Fortescue Metals gained 1.6 per cent to $14.24 and Rio Tinto added 0.6 per cent to $98.68.
Goldminers had a strong day after the price of the precious metal hit a nearly eight-year high of $US1,773 an ounce.
Evolution, Northern Star and Saracen Mineral Holdings were up between 4.1 and 6.7 per cent, while Newcrest gained 2.5 per cent.
The Australian dollar was buying 69.24 US cents, up from 69.09 US cents at the close of trade on Tuesday.
ON THE ASX
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Wednesday closed up 11.3 points, or 0.19 per cent, at 5,965.7 points
* The All Ordinaries closed up 12.3 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 6,081.6 points
* At 1738 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was down seven points, or 0.12 per cent, at 5,922 points
One Australian dollar buys:
* 69.23 US cents, from 69.17 US cents on Tuesday
* 73.80 Japanese yen, from 74.09 yen
* 61.27 euro cents, from 61.30 cents
* 55.42 British pence, from 55.43 pence
* 107.33 NZ cents, from 106.74 cents.