Australia S&P/ASX 200 gains 1.74%

March 01,2021

The Australian share market finished session higher on Monday, 01 March 2021, recouping some of the recent loses, as investors refocused on a vaccine and stimulus-driven global economic recovery. Meanwhile, bargain buying was also underpinned after some of the country's most populous states further eased restrictions over the weekend as the regions recorded no community transmissions of the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 advanced 116.28 points, or 1.74%, to 6,789.55. The broader All Ordinaries added 102.07 points, or 1.47%, to 7,042.70.

Advancers were rather widespread with all sectors in the green. Property, technology, communications and healthcare experienced some of the larger improvements, materials underperformed mostly due to Fortescue Metals (FMG) sliding 5.9% as it traded ex-dividend.

Gains for the big banks contributed to the broader market advances. Commonwealth Bank (CBA) climbed most, adding 3.1%. ANZ Bank (ANZ) is expecting $212 million hit to its 1H21 result due to a write-down of an investment in a Malaysian bank, ANZ still rose 1.6%. CSL Ltd (CSL) is another major contributor as it lifts 2.9%. Buy-now pay-later provider Afterpay (APT) is clawing back some of its 21% loss last week with a gain of 5.1% while ZipCo (Z1P) jumped 5.5%.

Property stocks also received support with the likes of Stockland (SGP) lifting 5.5% as did Charter Hall (CHC) following the biggest lift in Aussie home prices in 17.5 years with national home prices lifting 2.1% in February.

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Australia continued to expand in February, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from Markit Economics showed on Monday with a manufacturing PMI score of 56.9. That's down from January's 37-month high of 57.2, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

The manufacturing sector in Australia also continued to expand in February, and at a faster pace, the latest survey from the Australian Industry Group showed on Monday with a Performance of Manufacturing Index score of 58.8. That's the highest reading since March of 2018 and was up from 55.3 in January and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Monday that company profits in Australia tumbled a seasonally adjusted 6.6 percent on quarter in the fourth quarter of 2020, well shy or expectations for a decline of 4 percent following the 3,2 percent increase in the third quarter. Business inventories were flat on quarter, shy of expectations for an increase of 0.2 percent after slipping 0.3 percent in the previous three months. On a yearly basis, profits were up 15.1 percent and inventories sank 4.6 percent.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics also said on Monday that the total value of owner-occupied housing loans jumped a seasonally adjusted 10.9 percent on month in January, coming in at A$22.11 billion. Investment lending climbed 9.4 percent to A$6.64 billion, while overall lending rose 10.5 percent to A$28.75 billion.

CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7752, having slipped from levels above $0.792 last week.

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