SYDNEY, AAP – Australia’s share market appears set for its first gains of the week while the unemployment rate also rose due to coronavirus lockdowns.
The market was higher by 0.8 per cent on Thursday following a good lead from the US helped by technology stocks.
ASX technology shares benefited most. Artificial intelligence software vendor Appen and cargo software maker WiseTech Global rose more than five per cent each.
The next best improvers were shares in materials, healthcare and property.
The big miners BHP, Fortescue and Rio Tinto were up by more than one per cent each by 1200 AEDT. Biotech CSL rose by the same measure.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was higher by 58.9 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 7331.4.
The All Ordinaries was up 64.6 points, or 0.85 per cent, to 7636.5.
Australia’s unemployment rate ticked up to 4.6 per cent in September as a further 138,000 jobs were lost due to lockdowns.
Economists expect the rate could improve by November as the ACT, NSW and Victoria ease restrictions.
The Aussie dollar continued to buy 73 US cents after the figures were published.
In the US, consumer prices for September showed further increases and may strengthen the case for an interest rate hike.
The US central bankers signalled they could start reducing crisis-era support for the economy in mid-November, the minutes of their past meeting showed.
In company news, miner South32 is buying a stake in a copper mine in Chile for an upfront cost of $US1.55 billion.
The 45 per cent stake will give the company joint control of the Sierra Gorda mine with miner KGHM Polska Miedz.
South32 boss Graham Kerr said the purchase was part of moving to a low carbon world.
Shares were up 5.2 per cent to $3.87.
In banking, the big four were mixed. ANZ and the Commonwealth were down by less than one per cent. NAB and Westpac were higher by the same measure.
Shares in wealth manager Hub24 rose after the company reported record first-quarter inflows.
The inflows of $3 billion were received in the September quarter. The company was managing $63.2 billion in funds.
Hub24 also recruited more staff to help business growth.
Shares were up 8.87 per cent to $31.29.
KFC franchisee Collins Foods is expanding in the Netherlands by buying nine of the chicken outlets.
The company already has 35 KFC outlets in the Netherlands and will gain more through a share purchase from RDK Holding BV and MDK Holding BV.
Collins is paying 10.25 million Euros ($A16 million) for the businesses.
Shares were up 0.37 per cent to $13.42.
Shares in arts marketplace Redbubble fell steeply after first quarter sales and earnings dipped.
The company confirmed full-year sales were likely to be lower than the previous year.
Shares dropped more than 12 per cent to $4.00.
The Australian dollar was buying 73.89 US cents at 1200 AEDT, higher from 73.41 US cents at Wednesday’s close.