ASX ends little changed, slips for week | Ralph-Lauren

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Investors spent the week waiting for US President-elect Joe Biden’s economic stimulus plan details, but failed to get a boost after it was revealed.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed higher by 0.1 points, or 0 per cent, to 6715.4 on Friday, and lost 0.63 per cent for the week.

The All Ordinaries on Friday rose 4.1 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 6986.8.

There was muted reaction to US President-elect Joe Biden giving details of a $US1.9 trillion ($2.5 trillion) economic stimulus proposal.

The plan includes $US415 billion to better respond to the coronavirus and distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

GSFM investment strategy consultant Stephen Miller said the details had been telegraphed to investors.

Westpac senior currency strategist Sean Callow had a similar view for exchange rates.

The Aussie dollar slipped to about 77 US cents.

“I didn’t see any reaction in the Aussie dollar to those stimulus details because they were pretty much expected,” Mr Callow said.

“The Aussie is just drifting down slightly with softer equities globally.”

Mr Miller said for equity markets to move higher, the stimulus must achieve its purpose.

“In the next three to six months, we need to see economic data reflect the stimulus measures,” he said.

“We need to develop confidence that the vaccine rollout is going at a rate in which we can contemplate a return to normality in the second half of this year.”

The week’s agenda was dominated by fallout from Donald Trump supporters storming the Capitol building last week. The US president became the first to be impeached twice, after he incited the deadly riot.

Next week, plenty of interest will be in Australia’s December jobs figures.

The unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 per cent in November.

AMP chief economist Shane Oliver expected no change on Thursday.

He said while some were concerned about the government planning to withdraw employers’ JobKeeper subsidy in March, he did not see a problem as long as economic recovery continued.

Jobs protected by JobKeeper fell from 3.6 million in September to 1.5 million in October.

Mr Oliver said it would be appropriate to end JobKeeper as long as there were no coronavirus scares.

On the ASX, information technology was the top sector, up 2.64 per cent.

Afterpay reached a record price of $135.54 in the wake of US rival Affirm’s initial public offering on the Nasdaq.

Afterpay shares closed higher by 10.04 per cent to $133.15.

BHP reached a record price of $47.54, helped by commodity prices. Shares closed higher by 1.65 per cent to $46.82.

Fortescue rose 1.7 per cent to $25.18. Rio Tinto was up 0.72 per cent to $120.52.

BHP and Rio Tinto will next week give their first production updates of the year, outlining the quantity of resources they extracted from the earth.

Payments provider Tyro fell 11.79 per cent to $2.32 as it tries to resolve a software problem affecting EFTPOS terminals.

Tyro called a trading halt, and shares will resume trading on Tuesday at the latest.

Software vendor Objective Corporation, which caters to government agencies, forecast a 70 per cent rise in first-half profit.

The firm said a net profit after tax of $7.2 million was expected for the six months to December 31.

Shares fetched a record $14.50, then closed higher by 4.31 per cent to $13.56.

Westpac was best of the big four banks and gained 1.52 per cent to $21.53.

The Aussie dollar was buying 77.53 US cents at 1728 AEDT, higher from 77.49 US cents at the close of trade on Thursday.


* The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed higher by 0.1 points, or 0 per cent, to 6715.4 on Friday.

* The All Ordinaries on Friday closed up by 4.1 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 6986.8.

* At 1728 AEDT, the SPI200 futures rose by two points, or 0.03 per cent, at 6643 points.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 77.53 US cents, from 77.49 cents on Thursday

* 80.46 Japanese yen, from 80.76 yen

* 63.87 Euro cents, from 63.88 cents

* 56.72 British pence, from 56.92 pence

* 107.73 NZ cents, from 107.74 cents.


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