SYDNEY, AAP – Some big gains for mining and technology providers have helped the ASX continue to recover hefty losses from last week.
Fortescue and Rio Tinto were up by more than three per cent after iron ore prices climbed to $US150 per tonne earlier. BHP rose by more than one per cent.
ANZ Bank researchers said China’s success in quelling a recent coronavirus outbreak had helped the outlook for making steel. China is the biggest customer for Australia’s iron ore.
Information technology shares had the biggest gains after the US Nasdaq and S&P 500 indices had all-time closing highs.
Cargo software vendor WiseTech Global was up 40 per cent after delivering a hefty final dividend from its full-year earnings.
Investors may be expecting more raised payouts after the company forecast earnings this financial year to improve by up to 38 per cent.
The mining and IT gains helped offset losses for shares in industrials, consumer goods, telecommunications, utilities and property.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was higher by 21.1 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 7524.1 at 1200 AEST on Wednesday.
The All Ordinaries was up 29.7 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 7803.4.
US markets remained buoyant after authorities approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine earlier in the week.
The vaccine could help overcome widespread outbreaks of the Delta variant, which threatens economic recovery.
Meanwhile, US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is due to talk with world bank leaders when the Jackson Hole Symposium convenes later this week.
His remarks will be examined for any clues regarding the easing of bond buying and hiking key interest rates.
On the ASX, there were plenty of high-profile companies delivering earnings reports.
Afterpay is yet to turn a profit and reported a full-year loss of $159.4 million.
However most analysts said US payments provider Square’s pending purchase would shape the company’s future.
Afterpay shares were down 0.74 per cent to $134.10.
Kerry Stokes is retiring from the board of his media and investment company, Seven Group Holdings.
Seven says Mr Stokes will step down as executive chairman after 11 years, following an annual general meeting in November.
The company revealed a full-year underlying net profit of $504.6 million, up seven per cent.
Shares were down 4.72 per cent to $21.80.
Nine Entertainment has posted a turnaround in earnings, swinging to a $184 million annual profit after lifting advertising revenues.
The newspaper publishing division expanded earnings by 25 per cent to $117.2 million, thanks to growth in digital subscriptions and licence revenue.
Shares were down 10.06 per cent to $2.68.
Medibank Private has posted a 40 per cent jump in full-year net profit as a heightened focus on health during the COVID-19 pandemic boosted demand for its health insurance policies.
Medibank will pay a fully-franked final dividend of 6.9 cents a share, up from 6.3 cents a year ago.
The insurer is hoping to continue the momentum in the current financial year, with a target of 3 per cent growth in policyholders in FY22.
Shares were up 0.14 per cent to $35.35.
In banking, the big four were mixed with minor fluctuations. NAB was best and rose 0.43 per cent to $27.52.
The Australian dollar was buying 72.48 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher than 72.34 US cents at Tuesday’s close.