Soaring tech stocks lift ASX to three-week high

Local tech stocks followed the lead of the Nasdaq to be the best-performing sector on the market this week.

Afterpay soared 18.4 per cent to $67.50 this week with Citi and RBC Capital Markets both increasing their price targets on the buy now, pay later provider, saying it had seen challenges following on from the pandemic.

Nearmap also rose during the week, rising 17.5 per cent to $2.49, NEXTDC advanced 14.6 per cent to $11.10, Xero firmed 1.5 per cent to $91.17, Appen climbed 4.4 per cent to $36.30 and EML Payments added 5.6 per cent to close the week at $3.57.

WiseTech Global was among the sector’s worst performers this week, falling 5.1 per cent to $20.54, after founder and chief executive Richard White dumped $46 million worth of shares. Hedge fund research firm J Capital also released an updated report on the stock, claiming its newly acquired Containerchain business is “bleeding accounts” and forecasting goodwill writedowns of up to $300 million.

The major banks helped support the week’s gains. Commonwealth Bank advanced 3.3 per cent to $71.57, Westpac firmed 3.1 per cent to $18.54, NAB climbed 1.8 per cent to $18.74 and ANZ rose 2.1 per cent to $19.19.

A number of other blue chip stocks also advanced. Wesfarmers rose 5 per cent to $46.11, Telstra firmed 7.3 per cent to $3.36, Transurban advanced 0.9 per cent to $14.62, Woolworths added 3.8 per cent to $37.77, Macquarie Group climbed 2.4 per cent to $122.02 and A2 Milk gained 8.5 per cent to close the week at $19.83.

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Despite broad market optimism, gold stocks were also climbing.

Newcrest Mining added 5.1 per cent to $32.73, Evolution Mining rose 12.2 per cent to $6.00, Silver Lake Resources climbed 6.4 per cent to $2.16, Northern Star Resources advanced 5.9 per cent to $13.91, Resolute Mining firmed 4.5 per cent to $1.17 and Regis Resources gained 4.8 per cent to close the week at $5.43.

Collins Foods shares rose 13.1 per cent to $9.38 after the KFC Restaurant operator reported strong sales growth at its stores through the COVID-19 lockdown measures.

The major miners weighed the market this week with iron ore prices slipping as supply from Australia and Brazil increased.

Rio Tinto dropped 2.6 per cent to $96.39 and Fortescue Metals Group declined 1.1 per cent to $14.02. BHP Group rose 0.6 per cent to $36.26.

Adbri shares tumbled 26.1 per cent to $2.35 after US aluminium giant Alcoa turned its back on local sourcing of lime for its three alumina refineries in Western Australia, deciding to not renew its long-standing contract with Adbri’s Cockburn Cement.

Jumbo Interactive dropped this week after it extended its reseller agreement with Tabcorp through to 2030. The new deal was on less-favourable terms than the previous deal, however, pushing its shares 5.3 per cent lower to $10.80.



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