SYDNEY, AAP – A late slide on the ASX has muted an Omicron recovery while more nations including Australia paused overseas arrivals due to the latest coronavirus strain.

The market rose as much as 1.2 per cent on Tuesday as investors found bargains from two days of panic selling.

The indices were about 0.7 per cent higher close to the end of trade, but dived in the final minutes. The gain was 0.22 per cent.

Tribecca Investment Partners portfolio manager Jun Bei Liu still viewed the outcome positively.

“The market seems to have decided this virus is not a big threat at this point,” she said.

Travel shares hammered in the past couple of trading days were part of the recovery. Corporate Travel Management, Flight Centre and Webjet each gained about five per cent.

Global markets have improved after US President Joe Biden ruled out lockdowns to stop the spread of Omicron and said contingency plans were in place with drugmakers.

However the world is still learning about the variant and Ms Liu said findings in the next couple of weeks could prompt market reaction.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 16.2 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 7256 points.

The All Ordinaries closed higher by 24.9 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 7587.4 points.

The ASX gain was also likely helped by Tuesday being the last day of the month. Ms Liu said fund managers often buy stock on this day for what she called window dressing of portfolios.

For November, the market lost almost one per cent. This was its third consecutive losing month.

In the US this week, the “beige book” survey of business conditions data may influence trade. October’s report found supply-chain disruptions and labour shortages.

In Australia, national accounts figures for the September quarter are due on Wednesday. Economists have predicted a 2.5 per cent economic contraction due to lockdowns.

In company news, ASIC hit Westpac with six civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court, which could draw a combined penalty of more than $100 million.

ASIC has alleged widespread compliance failures across Westpac businesses.

Shares were down almost two per cent to $20.52.

NAB was best of the big banks. The stock rose 0.37 per cent to $27.30.

AMP shares rose on plans for two businesses to be demerged.

The retail wealth business AMP Limited will have goals including cutting $115 million in costs in two years.

The private markets business, which will manage property and infrastructure investments, has a leadership team and chairman.

Shares were up almost three per cent to $1.03.

The big miners were mixed. BHP rose about two per cent. Rio Tinto and Fortescue lost about two and three per cent respectively.

Stock in KFC owners Collins Foods traded for a record price after the company improved first-half profit.

Shares traded for $14.25 after good earnings for KFC Europe helped net profit after tax to $26.4 million.

The fully franked interim payout of 12 cents per share was more than the 10.5 cents per share paid this time last year.

Shares were up more than 12 per cent to $14.10.

Credit Corp is buying the Radio Rentals business from Thorn Group.

Credit Corp raised its full-year earnings forecast in view of the $60 million deal.

Shares in the credit group were up 8.57 per cent to $32.80.

Shares in Thorn Group were up more than 10 per cent to 25 cents.

Software vendor Nuix dived after the company revealed earnings were down.

Earnings in the four months to October were down due to spending on product development and sales.

Shares lost 11.72 per cent to $2.26.

The Australian dollar was buying 71.04 US cents at 1722 AEDT, lower from 71.37 US cents at Monday’s close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 16.2 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 7256 points on Tuesday.

* The All Ordinaries closed higher by 24.9 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 7587.4 points.

* At 1722 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down 45 points, or 0.62 per cent, at 7186 points.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 71.04 US cents, from 71.37 cents on Monday

* 80.41 Japanese yen, from 80.77 yen

* 62.81 Euro cents, from 63.30 cents

* 53.37 British pence, from 53.53 pence

* 104.64 NZ cents, from 104.53 cents.