Australia Stocks gain on vaccine optimism

July 15,2020

The Australian share market finished session higher on Wednesday, 15 July 2020, mirroring overnight gains on Wall Street, with an upbeat mood also helped by reports that an experimental coronavirus vaccine in the United States had showed positive results in a clinical study.

At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 111.84 points, or 1.88%, to 5,941.08. The broader All Ordinaries dropped 43.77 points, or 0.72%, to 6,045.50.

The Australian market took cue from strong overnight gains on the major Wall Street indices, after Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard hinted at an additional monetary stimulus and U.S. researchers on Tuesday reported that Moderna Inc's experimental vaccine for COVID-19 provoked immune responses in all 45 healthy volunteers in an ongoing early-stage study.

All sectors improved on Wednesday, with gains from mining stocks, healthcare, retailers and technology firms standing out. Iron ore miners continue to benefit from a lift in the metal's price, which is close to 40 per cent above the lows hit in April. This is partly on strong demand out of China, which bought 17 per cent more ore in June. A major broker has also upgraded forecasts for the metal in coming years.

Afterpay (APT) rose by 2.4% after announcing agreements with both Apple Pay and Google Pay. The buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) firm is expecting to expand in physical stores in the US in coming months.

Woodside Petroleum was down 2% after flagging a $6.3 billion writedown and recording weak quarterly output amid a coronavirus-induced slump in oil prices.

CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.699 following an earlier high of $0.7018.

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