Australias stock market closed at a three-week high on Tuesday with broad-based gains boosting every sector except materials and energy, which was dragged down by three days of declining oil prices.
Tuesdays gains followed upgrades to domestic economic growth and strong performances in the US, where generous stimulus payments were starting to reach consumers.
The ASX added 0.8 per cent on Tuesday. Credit:Louie Douvis
The S&P/ASX 200 added 54 points to close at 6827, a gain of 0.8 per cent. It was the highest close since 25 February.
The Dow Jones industrial index reached a new all-time high on Monday night, taking it 64 per cent above the bottom of the market in March 2020. Next week marks the anniversary of the turning point in the pandemic market crash, which was stopped by a whatever it takes support package from the US Federal Reserve.
The S&P/ASX 200 has gained 52 per cent since hitting a bottom on 23 March 2020, but has not yet closed above the 7000-points level reached just before the pandemic.
Tuesday saw healthcare giant CSL rising 2.3 per cent to $261.81, Goodman Group adding 3.4 per cent to $17.51, and Afterpay adding 3.1 per cent to $111.71. BHP, Rio Tinto, South 32, and Woodside Petroleum all declined.
The gains come as economists at Citi Bank increased their 2021 Australian economic growth forecast up to 4.4 per cent, compared to a 2.4 per cent decline seen in 2020.
This bullish outlook was due to stronger dwelling and business investment and public sector demand.
Consumers were expected to contribute 55 per cent of the GDP growth by spending the money they saved in 2020.
Among the top 200 stocks, 155 closed higher. Supermarket supplier Metcash dropped 4 per cent to $3.39 despite upgrading its dividend policy to a 70 per cent payout ratio. The biggest gain was 6.6 per cent in biotech PolyNovo to $2.75 followed by a 5.5 per cent rise in real estate company Charter Hall to $12.26.
It is a clear day for growth businesses that lagged in the past couple of weeks, portfolio manager at Tribeca Investment Partners, Jun Bei Liu, said.
While commentators were saying US equities markets had already priced in the Biden administrations $US1.9 trillion ($2.5 trillion) stimulus plan, Ms Liu said there has been another wave of market enthusiasm since the package was signed into effect last Friday.
None of those things are really 100 per cent priced in. Soon you will be getting the news flow of people getting cheques and then investors will start to extrapolate (on the impact).
She added she was expecting to see only neutral commentary from the Federal Reserve after it meets this week given how hyper-sensitive both bond and equity markets were to inflation and rate potentially rising at the moment.
Local tech stocks bounced back strongly on Tuesday – mirroring an overnight surge for the Nasdaq – with sector heavyweights Afterpay, Xero, Appen, NEXTDC, and Wisetech Global all rallying.
ASX200 info tech names gained 3 per cent, even as inflation concerns continue to roil investors. These high growth stocks have been particularly susceptible to improving economic outlooks, as their future earnings growth declines in a high inflation environment.
Meanwhile, director of fixed income and investment strategy at FIIG Securities, Jonathan Sheridan, said 10-year government bond yields were still jumping around as the constant trickle of economic data re-calibrated inflation expectations. However, Mr Sheridan said time would tell if there was genuine economic growth or a lack of supply inflation showing up in the data.
Borrowing rates on corporate debt had increased in the past three months and good returns were becoming available from the flurry of corporate debt issuance from utilities, real estate, and property trusts.
For example, US telco Verizon recently issued $US25 billion worth of bonds to help fund a huge spectrum purchase. This included $1.25 billion worth of Australian dollar 10-year bonds that were sold with a yield of about 3 per cent.
There is quite a lot of corporate issuance taking advantage of low rates, Mr Sheridan said.
It has been a bit of a smorgasboard to be honest.

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