SYDNEY, AAP – The Australian share market has closed with solid gains in its first trading session after the Easter holidays, with investor sentiment bolstered by overseas markets and news of a trans-Tasman “travel bubble”.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 57.2 points, or 0.84 per cent, to 6885.9 on Tuesday, following the four-day Easter break.
The All Ordinaries closed 69.7 points, or 0.99 per cent higher, at 7133.90.
The broad-based gains in the local market were led by the technology sector.
“The fact the US market rose about 1.5 per cent overnight seems to have flowed through to our technology sector today, which was the strongest performer by far,” CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian said.
Shares in buy-now-pay-later heavyweight Afterpay surged nearly 10 per cent to $116.04 each, while software firms Wistech Global and Xero also climbed 5 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.
The other major gainer through the day was the travel sector, following news New Zealand will allow quarantine-free visits by Australians from April 19, creating a “travel bubble” for the neighbouring nations which have closed borders to the rest of the world to eradicate COVID-19.
Both countries have effectively eradicated the virus, with only minor outbreaks due to leakages from quarantined returned travellers.
The news offered some hope to the bleak outlook for travel focused companies, with shares in Qantas and Sydney Airport climbing more than 3 per cent, while Flight Centre and Webjet were up more than 4 per cent.
Meanwhile, traders shrugged off the central bank’s decision to hold the cash rate at 0.1 per cent.
The Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday said while the economic recovery has been “stronger than expected”, it expected wage and price pressures to remain subdued for some years. The bank says it doesn’t expect to raise the cash rate until at least 2024.
Earlier on Tuesday, job advertisements rose 7.4 per cent in March to touch their highest level since November 2008, pointing to further unemployment declines.
That is good news for the financial sector, with three of the Big Four banks ending in positive territory. Commonwealth shares gave up early gains to end 0.2 per cent lower.
Mining and energy shares were also higher, helped by overnight gains in copper and crude oil prices.
Among other stocks, Cleanaway Waste Management surged nearly 16 per cent to $2.55 after it said it would acquire the local recycling business of French firm Suez for $2.52 billion.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar was higher after the upbeat domestic RBA outlook and continuing economic gains in largest trading partner China.
The local currency was trading at 76.28 US cents by 1715 AEST, sharply higher from 75.47 US cents at last Thursday’s close.
ON THE ASX
* The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed up 57.2 points, or 0.84 per cent, to 6885.9 on Tuesday.
* The All Ordinaries closed higher by 69.7 points, or 0.99 per cent, to 7133.90.
* At 1715 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was unchanged at 6860 points.
One Australian dollar buys:
* 76.28 US cents, from 75.47 cents on Thursday
* 84.18 Japanese yen, from 83.60 yen
* 64.62 Euro cents, from 64.37 cents
* 54.98 British pence, from 54.83 pence
* 108.52 NZ cents, from 108.48 cents.