ASX gains 1.6% as Afterpay hits $68


The Australian stock market has hit its highest level since June 11, with gains across the board as Afterpay continued its stunning run by soaring 9.5 per cent to a new all-time high.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished up 98.3 points, or 1.66 per cent, at 6,032.7 points, in its best performance in two weeks.

The broader All Ordinaries index finished up 101.3 points, or 1.68 per cent higher, at 6,142.3.

“Clearly a reasonably strong day on the market today,” said SG Hiscock & Company portfolio manager Hamish Tadgell.

“It’s been driven by pretty broad gains across the market today,” Mr Tadgell said.

Mining was the only sector that didn’t join the rally, with goldminers taking a break after several days of strong gains and the diversified miners subdued.

Buy now, pay later giant Afterpay led the tech sector higher, closing at $68.16, up 133 per cent since the start of the year and more than eightfold from the intraday low of $8.01 it hit during the market crash back on March 23.

Its rivals also had a good day, with Zip Co rising 5.6 per cent, Splitit soaring 16.3 per cent and Openpay adding 2.6 per cent.

“You’ve got consumption growth and stimulus; those two things feed into it,” Mr Tadgell said.

“I don’t know if it’s coming from offshore. It’s hard to value these stocks on fundamentals or earnings at the moment.”

Afterpay now has a market capitalisation of $18.3 billion, making it Australia’s 19th most valuable company – worth more than the ASX Limited, the operator of the stock exchange.

It is profitable in Australia and New Zealand but declared an overall first-half loss of $32.1 million in February.

Elsewhere, all the big banks had a solid performance with CBA, NAB and Westpac all rising 1.8 per cent – to $71.10, $18.90 and $18.61 respectively – while ANZ added 2.0 per cent to $19.26.

Kathmandu gained 9.3 per cent to $1.175 after the Kiwi outdoor retailer outlined a strong recovery in sales since reopening stores in May, and declaring it expected earnings to drop but stay above $70 million.

Temple & Webster soared 17.9 per cent to $7.44 following a $40 million institutional placement in which it sold seven million shares at $5.70 each.

Tuas Limited gained 35.3 per cent to 69 cents, a day after falling 24.4 per cent.

The operator of a 4G mobile network in Singapore made its ASX debut on Monday as part of the TPG/Vodafone merger.

In the mining sector, BHP gained 0.5 per cent to $36.01, Rio Tinto added 0.7 per cent to $97.81 and Fortescue Metals rose 2.0 per cent to $14.03. 

In the US, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indices closed higher after drugmaker Pfizer said a vaccine being developed with German firm BioNTech showed promise and was found to be tolerated in early-stage human trials, but Mr Tadgell did not believe that was the reason for the rally.

The Australian dollar was buying 69.29 US cents, up from 68.98 US cents at the close of trade on Wednesday.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 98.3 points, or 1.66 per cent, at 6,032.7 points

* The All Ordinaries closed up 101.3 points, or 1.68 per cent, at 6,142.3 points

* At 1736 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was down four points, or 0.07 per cent, at 6,009 points


One Australian dollar buys:

* 69.27 US cents, from 69.07 US cents on Wednesday

* 74.45 Japanese yen, from 74.30 yen

* 61.39 euro cents, from 61.50 cents

* 55.41 British pence, from 55.80 pence

* 106.45 NZ cents, from 106.98 cents.

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