Oil fuels ASX
The brent crude oil price lifted 1.5 per cent to $US71.33 a barrel as OPEC and its allies stuck to their plan to cautiously bring back supply to the markets in June and July.
The energy sector has started to come alive over the recent week as it becomes another pocket of the [ASX] index which feels like its attempting to address the last six months underperformance, wrote portfolio manager at Shaw and Partners, James Gerrish.
With crude oil knocking on $US70 a barrel, the risk-reward is attractive for quality names.
The ASXs energy sector put in another solid shift, with Worley leading the charge, rising 7.7 per cent to $12.05.
Beach Energy added 5.8 per cent to $1.37, Woodside Petroleum rose 3.1 per cent to $3.11 and Oil Search climbed 4.1 per cent to $4.03.
Financial stocks also contributed to Thursdays gains.
IOOF Holdings leapt 7.9 per cent to $4.22, Zip Co increased 4.4 per cent to $7.16 and Hub24 added 4 per cent to $28.03.
The big four banks all ended the session higher as ANZ firmed 1.5 per cent to $28.77, Westpac advanced 1.1 per cent to $26.50, NAB added 0.9 per cent to $27.12 and Commonwealth Bank rose 0.9 per cent to $101.21.
Economic recovery continues
Australias trade surplus climbed $2.2 billion in April to $8.03 billion, slightly below consensus expectations of $8.2 billion. The rise was driven by a 3 per cent month-on-month increase in exports and a 3 per cent decline in imports.
Retail sales for April also rose and were in line with preliminary estimates of 1.1 per cent. All states and territories recorded increases apart from Western Australia, due to its lockdown late in the month.
The Victorian lockdown that started on May 27 and is set to run for those in Melbourne to June 9 is likely to weigh on aggregate activity in June and July, a NAB research report said.
We do not expect the Victorian lockdown to weigh materially on the outlook, given the sharp rebound in activity seen across all states once lockdown restrictions have eased.
Regenerative company Mesoblast fell on news that its revenue tumbled 84.3 per cent to $US1.92 million in the March quarter compared with the year prior. The stock ended down 3.1 per cent to $1.86.
Galaxy Resources increased its full-year guidance to between 195,000 and 210,000 dry metric tonnes (dmt), up from the previous range of 185,000 to 200,000 dmt, on the back of a higher than expected production rate. It finished the session 1 per cent higher at $4.01.
US buy now, pay later company Sezzle soared 22.7 per cent to $9.20 after announcing it has locked in a three-year deal with retail giant Target.
St Barbara withdrew its production guidance for its Simberi operation as Papua New Guineas Mineral Resources Authority continues to investigate the death of a worker. The stock finished the session 0.5 per cent lower at $1.88.
Wesfarmers dropped 2.1 per cent to $55.11, despite saying its retail businesses are still seeing strong sales growth, even as it begins to cycle the impact of COVID-19 from last year.
PointsBet led the days losses, dropping 4.2 per cent to $12.43. Adbri declined 3.6 per cent to $3.24, Resolute Mining fell 3.4 per cent to 58¢, CSR lost 2.2 per cent to $5.91 and Costa Group slid 2.1 per cent to $3.34.

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