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Markets

Australian shares on track to gain 1.5% for week on further US stimulus hopes

  • Meanwhile, shares of Lynas Rare Earths leapt 10% after it signed an agreement to build a commercial light rare earths separation plant in the United States.
22 Jan 2021

Australian shares were slightly lower on Friday, hurt by losses among energy and tech stocks, but on track to gain over 1.5% for the week on renewed hopes for further fiscal stimulus in the United States after the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.13% to 6,814.5 by 2355 GMT, but still hovered near an 11-month high.

Risk sentiment also benefited over the week from a fall in Australia's jobless rate and its success in reigning in the latest domestic coronavirus outbreak.

On Friday, energy stocks fell 1.5%, with oil and gas explorers Woodside Petroleum and Santos Ltd dropping 1.8% and 3.1%, respectively.

Tech stocks were down 1.1%, having risen for the six previous consecutive sessions. Buy-now-pay-later co Afterpay Ltd fell 1%, while insurance-related software maker Bravura Solutions lost 1.1%.

Financials were also lower, with the so-called "big four" banks falling between 0.1% and 0.6%.

Healthcare stocks rose, with heavyweight CSL Ltd climbing 2% as Citi upgraded its rating on the stock, while medical device maker Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp jumped 7% on a rise in revenue.

Meanwhile, shares of Lynas Rare Earths leapt 10% after it signed an agreement to build a commercial light rare earths separation plant in the United States.

The number of issues on the ASX that advanced were 650 while 700 declined.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 1.8%, helped by gains among utility and healthcare stocks. The index was on track to gain 0.6% for the week.