SYDNEY, AAP – Investors on the ASX have nudged the indices higher despite the forecast for world economic growth being lowered due to the persistent coronavirus.
The market was down early but had inched higher by 1200 AEDT on Wednesday and most categories were up.
Information technology and property shares fared best. Afterpay was higher by almost 2.5 per cent.
Overnight the International Monetary Fund warned the global economy remains hostage to the COVID-19 pandemic until everyone is vaccinated
The fund lowered its world growth forecast for 2021 from six per cent to 5.9 per cent.
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However the fund upgraded growth for Australia in 2022 by 1.1 percentage points to 4.1 per cent.
Wall Street was a destabilising influence as investors continued selling ahead of third-quarter earnings.
A number of companies have warned of issues heading into the reporting period.
On the local front, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was higher by 10.7 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 7291.4.
The All Ordinaries was up 17.5 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 7593.1.
It has been an eventful day for a couple of banks.
Almost all Commonwealth Bank borrowers who took a loan holiday due to COVID-19 have restarted their repayments, chief executive Matt Comyn says.
Mr Comyn told the bank’s annual general meeting that about 160,000 mortgage holders and about 90,000 business loan holders deferred loans during the pandemic.
Shares were down 0.65 per cent to $104.20.
The other banks in the big four were also down by less than one per cent.
Bank of Queensland improved full-year cash earnings by 83 per cent, helped by a surging housing market.
Company leaders said they expected further increases in house prices and consumer spending to improve.
Investors will receive a final fully franked dividend of 22 cents per share. This is better than the previous final payout of six cents per share.
Investors expected more from the bank and sent shares down 3.9 per cent to $9.34.
In mining, there were mixed results following a fall in the iron ore price.
BHP was slightly higher but Fortescue and Rio Tinto shed more than one per cent each.
Infant formula provider Bubs said first quarter sales almost doubled as it overcame COVID-19 supply challenges.
Company leaders said they expected to sustain momentum.
Shares surged by more than 22 per cent to 44 cents.
Corporate bookmaker PointsBet had its shares rise after a deal with Curling Canada.
The company’s Canadian subsidiary will be the exclusive sports betting partner of the sport played on ice.
Shares were higher by more than four per cent to $10.05.
The Australian dollar was buying 73.39 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 73.54 US cents at Tuesday’s close.