Energy shares rebound to help ASX end flat as consumer and health firms struggle

Energy shares rebound to help ASX end flat as consumer and health firms struggle


The Australian share market has kept up with Wednesday’s leap in prices, managing to maintain its level despite an early loss in energy shares.

The market was just shy of breaking even on Thursday, down 5.10 points or 0.07 per cent to end the day at 7173.30.

It managed to gain 1.21 per cent in the past five days and 1.91 per cent across the year to date.

Energy stocks were disrupted early on Thursday with a tumble in the oil price sending share prices in the sector downward.

Brent crude slipped more than 3.5 per cent to below $US75 a barrel early on Thursday, but news that the Russians and Saudis have promised to talk on “further co-operation” brought things back into balance.

The sector managed to make up for its losses to end 0.25 per cent better than Wednesday.

Winners in the sector include energy giants Woodside and Santos, up 0.44 per cent and 0.74 per cent respectively, as rumours circulate about whether they are exploring a merger.

The top sector, only one of four that ended in the green, was utilities, which rose by 0.84 per cent.

That was helped by AGL which rose 3.40 per cent to $9.42 and Mercury Nz, up 2.41 to $5.94.

The miners also ended the day on top with the materials sector up 0.56 per cent, boosted by lithium providers.

Pilbara Minerals was third on the list of biggest lifters, increasing its share price to $3.58 after a 4.99 per cent rise.

It wasn’t the only lithium company to receive a boost, with Allkem and IGO increasing their share prices by 2.69 per cent each.

In the big leagues, Fortescue led the pack with a 1.59 per cent jump to end the day at $25.48 followed by Rio Tinto, up 1.04 per cent to $127.76 and BHP which increased its share price by 0.40 per cent to $47.42.

Meanwhile, the consumer discretionary sector took a plunge of 0.53 per cent led by Star Entertainment which saw its price fall by 4.47 to $0.54 and Treasury Wine Estates which dropped by 2.91 per cent to $10.36.

Financials were also in trouble, down 0.4 per cent with three of the big four banks seeing negative growth.

NAB and ANZ saw the largest drops at 0.44 and 0.40 per cent respectively followed by Commonwealth Bank which fell 0.07 per cent.

Westpac bucked the trend, increasing its share price by 55 per cent to $21.91.

Internationally, the S&P 500 fell for its third day in a row, down 0.39 overnight on Wall Street to 4549.34.

The Nasdaq composite fell to 14,146.71 points after losing 0.58 per cent and the Dow Jones fell 0.19 to 36,054.43 points.


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