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ASX rockets to fresh record high, CBA closes above $100 for first time

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Records tumbled on the ASX, with the two key indices reaching new heights while Commonwealth Bank closed above $100 for the first time. The Australian share market rocketed to a record high on Friday, fuelling expectations that May will cap off the longest monthly winning streak in about 14 years, while Commonwealth Bank closed above $100 for the first time.

The S&P/ASX200 closed 1.19 percent stronger at 7179.5, while the All Ordinaries Index surged 1.09 percent to 7424. That, respectively, compared to 7172.8 and 7419.8, reached on May 10. CommSec analyst Steve Daghlian said the local bourse cracked a 15-month high in early trade after a mixed lead from Wall Street, with a swag of data showing “quite robust” economic growth and a higher-than-expected fall in unemployment in the US.

“It makes it more likely May is going to end up being the eighth straight month of gains … the longest winning streak we’ve had in about 14 years,” Mr. Daghlian said. Chief executive Ivan Tchourilov said resources stocks outperformed the market, ending a volatile week positively. Rio Tinto rose 2.63 percent to $123.02, and BHP gained 2.9 percent to $48.16.

“The materials sector was the most sold this week among Openmarkets clients. However, buying the dips has been a recurring theme for good-quality, low-cost producers this year. Today is particularly evident of that,” Mr. Tchourilov said.

ASX rockets

OZ Minerals jumped 4.74 percent to $25.42. In comparison, Fortescue dropped 0.67 percent to $22.12 after reporting the development cost estimate for its Iron Bridge magnetite project in Western Australia had again blown out, now $US3.3-$US3.5bn ($A4.27-4.53bn). Fortescue said it was on track to produce the first concentrate in December 2022, with a ramp-up over 12-18 months.

Macquarie Research said the increase was expected. “The increase in capital expenditure compared to the investment decision in early 2019 reflects project-specific and market factors impacting materials and installation costs, including inflation, foreign currency exchange rates, and labor constraints,” it said. “This is in line with our forecasts.”

In the energy sector, Oil Search put on 2.2 percent to $3.72, Origin added 2.26 percent to $4.08, Santos advanced 2.23 percent to $6.88, and Woodside appreciated 1.89 percent to $22.11. Commonwealth Bank again climbed to a new record high, finishing 1.61 percent stronger at $100.56, the highest level it reached all day. CBA pierced the $100 mark twice this week, but this is the first time it has closed above $100.

As Victoria’s Covid outbreak worsened, Mr. Daghlian said it was somewhat surprising that travel stocks also performed well. Corporate Travel Management jumped 5.12 percent to $21.55, Qantas rose 2.56 percent to $4.81, Webjet gained 2.37 percent to $5.19, and Sydney Airport appreciated 2.78 percent to $5.92. ANZ firmed 1.12 percent to $28.86, National Australia Bank lifted 1.42 percent to $27.09, and Westpac improved 1.42 percent to $26.46.

“This is even though Victoria entered a seven-day circuit breaker lockdown, of course, at midnight overnight,” Mr. Daghlian said. “This is perhaps the fact that Victoria only reported four new locally acquired cases rather than 11 a day earlier … it might be hopefully heading in the right direction.”

Tabcorp received another offer to acquire its wagering and media business, this time from BetMakers Technology Group, bringing the number of suitors to three and beating the other two proposals. Shares in Tabcorp firmed 2.17 percent to $5.17, but BetMakers shares plunged 16.25 percent to $1.34.

Poultry company Inghams upgraded its full-year earnings guidance, based on ahe most recently available analyst research. Review “It expects to make as much as $87m over the year, and that’s about twice what it made a year earlier,” Mr. Daghlian said. Shares in Inghams surged 8.6 percent to $3.41.

One of the poor performers was almond farmer Select Harvests after it booked a big first-half profit plunge, with lower global prices for the nut taking the shine off a good growing season. Downer EDI won a $900m contract to operate and maintain bus services on Sydney’s northern beaches, sending its shares 1.6 percent higher to $5.68. Shares in the company slipped 1.01 percent to $5.90. The Aussie dollar fetched 77.23 US cents, 54.41 British pence, and 63.37 Euro cents in afternoon trade.

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