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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.
Published January 22, 2021
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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.

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