SYDNEY, AAP – Shares on the ASX recorded their best day of a downbeat week, although there was still little joy for investors in materials.
The market was a little higher on Friday despite some poor responses to company earnings and a mixed lead from US markets.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was higher by 12.9 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 7477.5 at 1200 AEST.
The All Ordinaries was up 5.6 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 7740.9.
Shares in consumer staples were performing best. Woolworths was up two per cent to $42.33.
Consumer discretionary and property stocks were next best.
They helped offset a decline of more than one per cent for materials.
BHP shares were down one per cent to $44.22 after big losses in the past two days.
Fortescue shares were up by one per cent while Rio Tinto was little changed.
Materials shares have fallen heavily this week following China’s efforts to curb steel production, and a falling iron ore price.
In the US, economically sensitive shares such as energy and materials were also weak.
Data showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to a 17-month low last week, pointing to another month of robust job growth.
Stocks sold sharply a day earlier after minutes from the US Federal Reserve’s July meeting showed officials felt it was possible that they could wind back economic support this year.
Meanwhile in Australia, the coronavirus lockdown for Sydney and surrounds has been extended through September.
Sydney Airport is happy to continue talking to investors who pitched takeover offers – if they raise their bid.
Chief executive Geoff Culbert discussed the airport’s first-half loss of $97.4 million and also said board members had no philosophical objection to a takeover.
Shareholders will not receive an interim payout.
Shares were higher by 0.06 per cent to $7.72.
Hearing implant maker Cochlear has returned to profit but has spooked investors with downbeat guidance about the year ahead.
Cochlear warned net profits won’t meet the long term target of 18 per cent growth.
COVID-19 impacts remain a risk.
Shares were down 6.07 per cent to $240.52.
Property developer Stockland posted a $1.1 billion net profit on Australia’s home buying frenzy and demand for pandemic-era logistics.
The return to profit followed a $21 million net loss a year ago.
Shares were down 0.87 per cent to $4.51.
The big four banks had gains of less than one per cent except for NAB, which had no change.
The Australian dollar was buying 71.29 US cents at 1200 AEST, lower than 71.89 US cents at Thursday’s close.