ASX follows Wall St higher ahead of inauguration | Ralph-Lauren

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Shares were almost half a per cent higher on the Australian market after a handy lead from the US, where a key political figure called for hefty economic stimulus.

The S&P/ASX200 index was higher by 33.6 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 6776.2 at 9am on Wednesday.

The all ordinaries was higher by 37 points, or 0.52 per cent, at 7052.

Almost all sectors were higher. Information technology was best, up 2.37 per cent.

Afterpay fetched a record $142.30 and had since eased to be higher by 4.44 per cent to $139.96.

WiseTech Global was up 6.45 per cent to $31.67.

The industrials sector was up 1.59 per cent, while energy was higher by 1.5 per cent after oil prices rose.

The big sectors, financials and materials, were better by less than half a per cent.

US markets closed higher after US Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen called for sizeable economic stimulus at her confirmation hearing.

The first woman to take the role said the benefits of a big package outweigh the costs of a higher debt burden.

President-elect Joe Biden, who will be sworn into office on Thursday, outlined a $US1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal last week to jump-start the economy and accelerate the distribution of vaccines.

In Australia, the Westpac-Melbourne Institute monthly consumer sentiment index for January fell 4.5 per cent, retreating from a decade high seen in December.

However, at an index of 107 points and above 100, Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said optimists still outnumber pessimists.

On the ASX, BHP raised the amount of iron ore it aims to produce in its full- year after restarting a mining operation in Brazil.

The miner gave a half-year production update in which it said it would produce between 245 and 255 million tonnes of iron ore.

The company in December restarted its Samarco joint venture, five years after a dam collapsed and killed 19 people in Brazil’s biggest environmental disaster.

Shares were higher by 0.89 per cent to $46.28.

Fortescue slipped 0.6 per cent to $24.67 while Rio Tinto gained 0.01 per cent to $119.65.

Medical device manufacturer PolyNovo jumped 6.85 per cent to $2.65 after it said distributors in Poland and Turkey will carry its NovoSorb product, which can help treat wounds.

Surgeons can use NovoSorb to help close wounds and grow new tissue, for conditions such as ulcers, burns and lacerations.

In banking, there were mixed results. ANZ, the Commonwealth, Macquarie and Bank of Queensland were down by less than half a per cent.

NAB and Westpac were higher by less than half a per cent.

In the US earlier, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 116.26 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 30,930.52, the S&P 500 gained 30.66 points, or 0.81 per cent, to 3798.91 and the Nasdaq Composite added 198.68 points, or 1.53 per cent, to 13,197.18.

The Aussie dollar was buying US77.10¢ at 9am, lower from US77.17¢ at Tuesday’s close.

AAP



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