Daily coronavirus numbers in Victoria and NSW are playing a big role in Australian investor sentiment, analysts say, as the local market closes higher.
Daily coronavirus numbers in Victoria and NSW are playing a big role in Australian investor sentiment, analysts say, as the local market closes higher.

‘Bit of hope’ as ASX closes higher

The Australian share market closed in the green on Thursday, driven by relief that Victoria's daily COVID-19 numbers were lower than yesterday's record high and positive leads from most overseas markets.

The S&P/ASX200 closed 0.68 per cent higher at 6042.2 on Thursday while the All Ordinaries Index added 0.72 per cent to 6180.3.

CommSec market analyst James Tao said the market continued its weeks-long trend of seesawing as investors keep a firm eye on how the pandemic is unfolding in Victoria and NSW.

"Right now, there is a bit of hope these stage four restrictions will clamp down on the spread and hopefully be a quicker fix for the economy," Mr Tao told NCA NewsWire.

The positive close came despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying Victoria's lockdown would dent the national economy in the September quarter by up to $9 billion and lift unemployment to double-digits.

Mining giant BHP contributed to almost half the entire market's gains, up 4.44 per cent to $39.64 while Rio Tinto put on 1.25 per cent to $105.29.

Resources companies generally fared well, with prices for iron ore remaining elevated, gold around the all-time high and oil rebounding.

COVID-19 cases numbers in Victoria and NSW are being closely monitored by Australian investors. Picture: iStock
COVID-19 cases numbers in Victoria and NSW are being closely monitored by Australian investors. Picture: iStock

Standout performers included furniture store Nick Scali, which jumped 14.5 per cent to $8.80 after reporting a strong dividend and June quarter sales, which reflected strong demand to make homes comfortable and cosy after the first coronavirus lockdown, Mr Tao said.

Declines included ResMed, which derives much of its revenue from ventilator sales but reported weak sales of sleep apnoea masks. The company's shares were down 8.08 per cent to $25.69.

The big banks were all higher excluding Commonwealth Bank, which eased 0.17 per cent to $71.58.

Diversified conglomerate Wesfarmers was down 0.84 per cent to $46.00 while the national carrier Qantas put on 2.47 per cent to $3.32.

The Aussie dollar was fetching 71.96 US cents, 54.64 British pence and 60.54 Euro cents at 4.42pm AEST.

Originally published as 'Bit of hope' as ASX closes higher


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