The Weekend Australian
ASX ends week on a flat note
The sharemarket finished steady yesterday in the wake of its fiveday winning streak, with the local producer of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and travel stocks slumping over fears about potential side-effects and the pace of the rollout.
After powering to a 13-month high on Thursday, when the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index broke through 7000 points for the first time since February 24 last year, the local bourse was flat after a choppy session.
Axi chief global market strategist Stephen Innes said Wall Street had a strong session overnight, with the S&P 500 again hitting record highs.
The ASX 200 closed just 3.6 points softer at 6995.2 while the All Ordinaries inched a two points higher to 7252.3.
After Australian medical authorities concluded people under 50 should be given the Pfizer vaccine instead of the AstraZeneca product over blood-clotting fears, shares in biotech heavyweight CSL — which is producing the AZ vaccine — fell 0.96 per cent to $263.40.
“Since Australia does have somewhat of a reliance on the AstraZeneca vaccine, it could delay the rollout into the second half of the year,” CommSec analyst Steve Daghlian said. “So no surprise that some of those travel stocks are under pressure.”
Webjet dropped 2.53 per cent to $5.40, Corporate Travel Management fell 2.95 per cent to $18.77, Flight Centre backtracked 2.69 per cent to $18.42, Sydney Airport shed 1.61 per cent to $6.10 and Regional Express softened 0.94 per cent to $1.57.
But Qantas bucked the trend, adding 0.55 per cent to $5.45.
Info tech Materials Cons disc Comm serv Real estate Financials Energy Health 3.01% 10.44% 4.81% 3.86% 3.35% 2.92% 2.28% 0.99%
Air New Zealand gained 2.11 per cent to $1.69 after deciding to delay a capital raising in light of “evolving circumstances related to the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
“That was thanks to the Australia-New Zealand travel bubble … which has of course helped many of those travel stocks (this week) … you’ve got to remember that we’ve had a very decent week as far as most of those travel stocks go,” Mr Daghlian said.
Rio Tinto fell 0.33 per cent to $115.50, BHP retreated 0.83 per cent to $46.67 and Fortescue dipped 0.52 per cent to $20.89.
Greenland Minerals leapt 23.6 per cent to 11c after the company issued a statement insisting uranium was a by-product of not great significance to its flagship Kvanefjeld rare earths project in Greenland, where the anti-uranium Inuit Ataqatigiit Party won the biggest number of votes in the recent national election.
Buy now pay later market leader Afterpay rose 1.22 per cent to $121.47 after raising its stake in its US business to 91 per cent.
Gold stocks performed well, with Silver Lake Resources jumping 6.14 per cent to $1.81, Westgold Resources climbing 5.96 per cent to $2.31 and Ramelius gaining 4.27 per cent to $1.71.
The dollar was buying US76.16c in afternoon trade.