Bullish ASX extends highest close since February 2020
Australia’s share market has closed at its highest level since February last year for a second day, and is nearing the record.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 35.5 points, or 0.51 per cent, to 7058.6.
The index traded lower for the first two hours but soon moved higher for most of the session.
The ASX200 is a little more than 100 points from its record close of 7162.49, set on February 20 last year.
The All Ordinaries yesterday closed up by 36.9 points, or 0.51 per cent, to 7317.5 points.
The market milestone followed earlier news Australia’s March unemployment rate had unexpectedly dropped to 5.6 per cent.
This was despite employers preparing for the JobKeeper wage subsidy to expire in the same month.
Deep Data Analytics chief executive Mathan Somasundaram was unsure whether the jobs data spurred buying on the market.
US reporting season began overnight, with US banks producing solid results. Wall Street indices closed mostly lower.
In ASX trade, the materials and energy sectors soared by 1.83 per cent and 1.18 per cent respectively. Financials rose 0.43 per cent. The biggest loss was in utilities, 0.89 per cent.
Bank of Queensland posted increases in first-half cash earnings and profit, and said its retail business has improved.
Shares were lower by 0.79 per cent to $8.83
Its big four rivals all gained less than one per cent. Westpac was best, up 0.67 per cent to $25.50.
Qantas, in a trading update, said demand for domestic flights was expected to be close to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year.
Shares were down 0.19 per cent to $5.20.
In mining, BHP rose 2.87 per cent to $47.33, Fortescue gained 3.51 per cent to $20.95 and Rio Tinto climbed 2.96 per cent to $117.71.