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Aussie shares are lifting for a second day, with the ASX 200 up 1.06 per cent to 6,631.1 and remaining just below a nine-month high as all sectors rise at lunch. Positive momentum continues to build, with vaccine hopes, the reopening of domestic borders, progress on the transfer of power to US President-elect Joe Biden and no new COVID cases in Victoria or New Sales Wales helping.

With just one week left this month, the Australian sharemarket is up 11.8 per cent in November, remaining on track to have the best month in 32 years and best November in over 80 years. The ASX 200 is now also very close to turning positive this year, with the index down just ~0.8 per cent in 2020. Between mid-February and mid-March, the Aussie market slumped by 38 per cent.

Vaccine excitement continues to support global markets. Overnight, British company Astrazeneca with partner Oxford University became the third vaccine maker this month to show better than expected efficacy in trials. The company showed its vaccine had up to 90 per cent efficacy in protecting against COVID. While this isn’t as effective as peers Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, the vaccine is cheaper to make, easier to transport and intends to be sold at cost during the pandemic. Both Pfizer and Moderna intend to sell their vaccines at profit. The US FDA and European Medicines Agency – which approves vaccines – were seeking effectiveness over 50 per cent according to The Financial Times.

All sectors are lifting strongly at lunch, with energy, mining and travel stocks standing out. The price of oil has jumped by another 1.5 per cent, hitting three-month highs and taking the gains in November to ~20 per cent.

Travel stocks are improving as border reopening news continues to flow. The Queensland border is set to re-open to NSW from 1 December. Qantas (QAN) is up 3 per cent while Sydney Airport (SYD) is a touch lower after receiving a broker downgrade. Banks are also lifting strongly at lunch. The only group of stocks that are under pressure today are gold miners, as the price of the precious metal declines as investors embrace more risk.

Ramsay Health (RHC), Mayne Pharma (MYX), Brickworks (BKW), Monadelphous (MND), Mesoblast (MSB) and Nanosonic (NAN) are all holding AGMs today. Ramsay (RHC) leadership continues to say it is unable to provide FY21 guidance due to the uncertainties created by COVID-19 in the northern hemisphere.

Brickworks (BKW) managing director at its AGM said “…within Building Products Australia, we have made an encouraging start to the year and our customers are reporting a strong pipeline of work in place”. BKW also highlighted the strong uncertainty that remains due to COVID-19.

2.9bn shares have changed hands so far today worth an above average $3.1bn. 652 stocks are up, 532 are down and 387 are flat.

Published by CommSec