A surprising turnaround has seen the Australian market finish the day higher on the back of healthcare and telco stocks as the financial sector shrugged off leftover jitters from Wall Street.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 8.7 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 6,049.8 at 1630 AEDT, while the broader All Ordinaries rose 8.3 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 6,163.8, after the local market settled in the afternoon following an erratic open.
Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee says the market recovery was “remarkable” after its initial strong losses.
Healthcare, energy and telco stocks offset losses in heavy materials and a flat technology sector following a volatile morning.
CSL Limited softened to end the day up 1.91 per cent but healthcare remained the best performing index with Cochlear Limited up 3.25 per cent to $198.12.
Despite the weak market the Aussie dollar is back above 71 US cents which could indicate a lift in international participation despite a slump in the equities, Ms Lee said.
The Aussie is buying 71.30 US cents, up 0.25 per cent from 71.03 US cents at 1630 AEDT on Tuesday.
After four consecutive days of downturns US markets look set for a bounce, Ms Lee said, with positive moves on the Hang Seng and a fairly benign session in China pointing to regional expectations of a recovery on Wall Street.
Heavy materials remained in the red despite stronger iron ore and copper prices but big players BHP and Rio Tinto hung on to stay in the green.
The financial sector clawed its way back into the black with the big four banks all closing higher, rising between 0.04 to 0.32 per cent.
The Commonwealth Bank and its wealth management arm Colonial First State were hit by a class action lawsuit over allegedly uncompetitive superannuation returns, while the Australian Banking Association has unveiled a refreshed banking industry code that aims to stop lenders charging dead people.
The pressure also remain on gold miners despite a firmer price with Newcrest and Northern Star both down and Evolution losing 1.81 per cent to close at $2.71.
Supply-weakened aluminium prices kept South32 down and Alumina Limited flat however the energy sector was up 0.27 per cent after oil prices climbed overnight.
Elsewhere, shares in Navitas leapt 21.84 per cent after the Australian education provider received a $1.97 billion buyout offer from a consortium consisting of private equity firm BGH Capital Pty Ltd, fund manager AustralianSuper Pty Ltd and top shareholder Rodney Jones.
ON THE ASX:
* The S&P/ASX200 was up 8.7 points, or 0.14 per cent, higher to 6,049.8 points.
* The All Ordinaries was up 8.3 points, or 0.13per cent, higher to 6,163.8 points.
* In futures trading the SPI200 futures index was down four points, or 0.07 per cent, at 6022 points at 1630 AEDT.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 70.13 US cents, from 70.60 US cents on Tuesday.
* 80.59 Japanese yen, from 80.34
* 61.91 euro cents, from 61.34
* 54.13 British pence, from 53.86
* 1.09.85 NZ cents, from 1.09.56
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1190.56 per fine ounce, down from $US1189.6 on Tuesday.