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Markets

Afterpay lifts Australian shares to record close

  • The benchmark ASX 200 index closed 1.3% higher at 7,491.4, after rising to 7,506.30 in intraday trading
Published August 2, 2021

Australian stocks jumped to a record close on Monday, with buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay leading the charge after it agreed to a $29 billion buyout by Jack Dorsey's Square Inc in the country's largest ever deal that also sent its peers higher.

The benchmark ASX 200 index closed 1.3% higher at 7,491.4, after rising to 7,506.30 in intraday trading.

Afterpay settled 19.5% higher after payments firm Square agreed to buy it, creating a global transactions giant and tapping an industry that has boomed over the past year.

Australian stocks tumble 2.27pc

"There is a lot more competition now in the BNPL space as we have got more banks and competitors overseas from Apple to Paypal," said Steven Daghlian, a market analyst at CommSec.

"We can see competitors listing as well, which could lead to more M&A activity potentially in that space, with Square also listing on the Australian share market if (the deal) goes ahead."

Tech stocks jumped 6.5% in their best session since late March 2020, while financials rose 1.9% to their highest close since June 22, with all the "Big Four" banks in positive territory.

Australia's No.2 BNPL firm, Zip Co Ltd, gained 9%.

In a day dominated by news on deals, Oil Search added 4.7%, leading gains among energy stocks, after it backed a sweetened $6.2 billion takeover bid by Santos Ltd.

Miners swung between gains and losses throughout the session to end up 0.1% amid weaker iron ore prices, with Fortescue Metals easing 2.1%.

Investors now await a meeting of the Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday where analysts expect the central bank to reverse last month's decision to taper its weekly bond buying programme.

Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand's NZX 50 index climbed 0.9% to 12,702.97, with logistics firm Mainfreight Ltd being the top gainer with a rise of 3.5%.

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