Australian shares ended higher for the fourth straight session on Friday, as gains in financials and technology stocks on hopes of slower interest rate hikes overshadowed losses in mining and energy companies.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.2% higher at 7,256.5. The benchmark rose 0.3% on Thursday. The benchmark index ended 1.5% higher for the week.
“This week’s ASX 200 movement was a clear reflection of optimism, stemming from a little softer hawkish position in U.S. Federal Reserve’s minutes and some fears stemming from a rise in COVID-19 cases in China…,” Kalkine Group Chief Executive Officer Kunal Sawhney said.
“The feeling that the Fed and other central banks would now look to balance economic growth and their mandate to rein in inflation is growing stronger with each passing day.”
Investor sentiment remained bullish as after months of hawkish monetary policy tightening rhetoric, the Fed in its November policy meeting hinted at slower rate hikes going forward.
Technology stocks rose 0.5% to hit a seven-week level, recording a fifth straight weekly jump.
Banking stocks, too, added 0.8%, hitting an about six-month high, with all of the so-called ‘Big Four’ banks trading in the positive territory. Financials rose about 2% for the week.
Separately, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group said it had earmarked A$100 billion ($67.67 billion) to help customers lower carbon emissions by 2030, as it looks to accelerate its transition to net zero.
Miners, however, fell 1.2%, snapping a three-session rally even as iron ore futures extended rally on Beijing’s fresh support measures for the property sector. For the week, the sector ended 0.2% higher.
For the day, BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group fell between 0.8% and 0.9%
Energy stocks dipped 0.3%, with sector major Woodside Energy falling 0.7%.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.5% to 11,382.56.