The ASX has surged ahead with gains across all the major sectors, while the Aussie dollar has mostly rebounded from a flash crash that hit many major currencies.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 75.6 points, or 1.36 per cent, to 5,633.4 at 1615 AEDT on Thursday, led by energy stocks on the backs of higher oil prices.
The broader All Ordinaries was up 69 points, or 1.23 per cent to 5,694.6.
“Generally it’s a pretty good day. A much improved session, that’s for sure, compared to yesterday’s performance,” said James Tao, a market analyst with Commsec in Sydney.
On Wednesday the ASX200 dropped 88.6 points, or 1.57 per cent.
The flash crash in the currency market just after 0930 AEDT on Thursday attracted much of the attention.
The Aussie crashed 6 per cent against the Japanese yen, 3 per cent against the greenback and 2.9 per cent against the pound in just seven minutes, hitting 10-year lows against the yen and the dollar.
Then it made up about half of those losses in another five minutes.
“It was pretty big moves there,” Tao said.
Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Group in Melbourne, called the swings “absolutely nuts”.
All the major currencies showed similar movement against the yen during that time.
The crash was blamed in part on algorithmic trading during an illiquid market. Japanese traders were on holiday, while the United States market had closed for the day.
About an hour before the crash, Apple Inc had shocked investors by warning that its earnings for the quarter wouldn’t meet expectations because of weak sales in China.
The Aussie had recovered most of its losses by the afternoon but at 69.42 US cents was at its lowest level in three years.
In the share market, energy stocks were up 2.97 per cent, financials up 1.75 per cent and telecoms up 2.32 per cent.
Shares in Healius, formerly Primary Health Care, surged 7.79 per cent, to $2.63, after the Sydney medical centre and pathology group said it had received a $2.02 billion takeover offer from a Hong Kong company.
The big banks were up from between 1.23 and 2.29 per cent, led by Westpac, which gained 56 cents to close at $25.04.
Among energy stocks, Woodside Petroleum gained 3.44 per cent, to $31.54, while Santos was up 3.94 per cent, to $5.49, after US oil prices gained 2 per cent, to $US46.33 a barrel.
It wasn’t such a good day for dual-listed Kathmandu, which plunged 14.12 per cent, to $2.25, after warning of poor sales during the holiday period.
Other retailers fell as well – JB Hi-Fi was down 4.26 per cent to $20.68; Super Retail Group, which owns Rays, Rebel Sport and Supercheap Auto, fell 5.42 per cent to $6.46; and fast fashion retailer Lovisa Holdings dropped 8.2 per cent, to $5.71.
Telstra gained 2.89 per cent, to $2.85.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 75.6 points, or 1.36 per cent to 5633.4
* The All Ordinaries was up 69 points, or 1.23 per cent, to 5694.6.
* At 1415 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down 2 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 5575.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1415 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 69.42 US cents, from 69.85 on Wednesday
* 74.32 Japanese yen, from 76.08
* 61.08 euro cents, from 61.58
* 55.33 British pence, unchanged from 55.39
* 1.0473 NZ cents, from 1.05
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1415 AEDT was $US1,288.56 per fine ounce, from $US1,283.86 on Wednesday.