ASX: Uranium miners fall, technology up, RBA warning on inflation

Technology saw the biggest gains as the Australian sharemarket closed fractionally higher on Friday, but was overall down 0.71 per cent over the week.

The benchmark ASX 200 index gained just 5.6 points, or 0.07 per cent, to finish the session at 7644.80 points.

Six of the 11 sectors closed in the green, with information technology and healthcare performing the strongest.

The broader All Ordinaries also closed higher, gaining 9.5 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 7884.70.

The index has lost 0.59 per cent for the past five days.

The Australian dollar is buying US64.94c.

Top performing stocks on the ASX were Liontown Resources (up 10.4 per cent) on speculation Gina Rinehart might return and Boral (up 8.32 per cent) after releasing stronger than expected results.

Other winners were hearing device company Cochlear (up 5.9 per cent) and Arcadium Lithium (up 3.97 per cent).

Energy and utilities were the overall weakest performers, including Boss Energy (down 12.69 per cent), Paladin Energy (down 7.02 per cent) and Silver Lake Resources (down 4.46 per cent).

The top stocks on the All Ordinaries were potash company Highfield Resources (up 15.52 per cent) and Neometals (up 15.39 per cent).

Among some of the majors companies in the resources sector, BHP fell 0.26 per cent, while Rio Tinto gained 0.46 per cent, Woodside dipped 1.45 per cent and Fortescue was down 0.77 per cent.

In banking, CBA gained 0.32 per cent, Westpac fell 0.16 per cent, ANZ climbed 0.11 per cent and NAB closed 0.28 per cent lower.

Earlier on Friday, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Michele Bullock gave evidence to the parliamentary economics committee, but it did not seem to have an impact on the sharemarket.

She warned the cash rate – which the central bank kept steady at 4.35 per cent at their first meeting of the year this week – might need to be pushed higher if Australia’s lacklustre post-pandemic productivity performance did not improve.

Elsewhere, European sharemarkets ended lower on Thursday.

Major healthcare stocks dropped 1.9 per cent, dragged by a 6.4 per cent fall in AstraZeneca after the British drugmaker missed quarterly profit estimates.

In the United States, government bond yields rose on Thursday.

“Claims for unemployment benefits fell for the first time in three weeks, pointing to a resilient US labour market that reinforces the central bank message that interest rates will not be cut in the near-term,” CommSec said.

The Hong Kong and Singapore exchanges closed at midday on Friday for the Lunar New Year.

Markets in China, Taiwan and South Korea were shut all day.

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