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Markets

Australia shares flat as markets eye stimulus, earnings

  • The ASX 300 metals and mining index rose 1%, led by Iluka Resources, up 5.3%, followed by MACA Ltd , up 4.5?%.
Published January 13, 2021

Australian shares marked time on Wednesday as investors awaited details of US President-elect Joe Biden's stimulus package later this week and looked ahead to the corporate earnings season.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fluctuated modestly early in the session before trading flat by 2335 GMT, with energy shares the standout and tech stocks dragging.

Overnight on Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 closed barely higher, while the Dow and Nasdaq bagged modest gains.

Hopes remain that the Biden administration will push ahead with more fiscal support to help spur growth, although recent moves to impeach President Donald Trump stoked some fears that those measures might be delayed.

A rising tally of global coronavirus cases has also kept risk appetite in check. Upcoming corporate earnings will shed more light on the prospects of an economic recovery this year.

Australia's energy stocks rose 2.8% to their highest since March, after oil prices touched an 11-month high on the back of Saudi Arabia's plans to limit supply.

Beach Energy advanced 5.7%, while Oil Search gained 3.7?%.

By contrast, technology stocks fell 2% to a near six-week low, as buy-now-pay-later bellwether Afterpay slipped 3.8% and Altium lost 3.6%.

The ASX 300 metals and mining index rose 1%, led by Iluka Resources, up 5.3%, followed by MACA Ltd , up 4.5?%.

Advancers outnumbered decliners on the ASX by 642 to 427, a 1.5-to-1 ratio. There were 70 new highs and 49 new lows.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2% to 13,211.48 points following two consecutive sessions of losses.

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