January 29, 2020 / 2:09 AM / 21 days ago

Australia shares tick higher on financials, tech

* Tech stocks jump to record high

* Treasury Wine sees worst session ever

* Australia inflation edges up but still below target

By Shreya Mariam Job

Jan 29 (Reuters) - Australian shares tracked broader Asia to trade higher on Wednesday, with financial and technology stocks leading the gains, although fears about the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak in China weighed on investor sentiment.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.4%, or 25.3 points, to 7,019.90 by 0113 GMT, after a 1.4% fall in the previous session.

Global financial markets stabilised after the World Health Organisation and China President Xi Jinping expressed confidence in Beijing’s ability to control and contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

China’s death toll from the virus has risen to 132 with nearly 1,500 new cases, heaping pressure on Beijing to control the disease.

“We’ll probably find the (stock) index relatively stable as long as we don’t get any bad news or escalation of the virus numbers coming out of China,” said Henry Jennings, senior analyst and portfolio manager at Marcustoday Financial Newsletter.

Meanwhile, Australian inflation ticked higher in the final quarter of 2019 but core measures remained subdued despite three interest rate cuts, suggesting the central bank will have to do more to revive consumer prices.

Financial stocks advanced 0.8%, with all of the “Big Four” banks trading higher.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group rose 1.3%, while National Australia Bank gained 0.8%.

Upbeat earnings from Apple Inc overnight spurred a rally in Australian tech stocks, with the index rising as much as 2.1% to a record high.

Afterpay Ltd and Xero Ltd gained 2.9% and 1.4%, respectively.

Firmer oil prices helped energy stocks climb about 0.8%, with Santos Ltd and Worley Ltd rising over 1% each.

Capping the gains, gold stocks dropped nearly 2% on lower bullion prices.

Newcrest Mining Ltd, the country’s largest independent gold miner, dropped 2.1%, while St Barbara Ltd shed 2.5%.

Among other losers, Treasury Wine Estates slumped more than 20% in its worst ever intraday drop, after the company lowered its earnings expectations for fiscal 2020 and 2021 due to increased competition in the United States.

“Treasury is a growth stock and clearly the market was expecting a 15%-20% growth. Now we’re looking at half that kind of growth. In this kind of jittery market, the market takes no prisoners,” Jennings said.

Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index gained 0.3%, or 35.62 points, to 11,720.73.

Infratil Ltd rose 2.1%, while A2 Milk Co gained 0.5%. (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below