The Australian sharemarket closed above 7500 points for the first time ever as a slew of major companies hit record highs in the lead up to what could be more merger activity and a bumper results and dividends season.
Miners led the way with BHP – the markets biggest company at $250 billion – rising 2.1 per cent to a new record close of $54.06
Rio Tinto gained 1.5 per cent to a new peak of $134.40. In the lithium sector Pilbara Minerals closed over $2 for the first time ever while the Gina Rinehart-backed Vulcan Energy gained 15.9 per cent to $11.53.
The ASX 200 closed 0.4 per cent higher at a new record 7503.2 on Wednesday. Credit:Louie Douvis
The benchmark S&P/ASX closed 0.4 per cent higher at 7503.2 points. The index has now risen nearly 14 per cent since the start of this year, despite the economic interruption caused by lockdowns.
Head of equities at the RBC Capital Markets institutional trading desk, Karen Jorristma, said the recent merger activity has spurred traders into action. She noted volumes on Mondays session were higher than usual, even though it was a public holiday in New South Wales.
I think there is a direct link between volumes and the merger and acquisition (M&A) we saw from both Oil Search, Santos and Afterpay, Square, she said.
Other recent deals include a $22 billion offer for Sydney Airport, and Telstra netting $2.8 billion for its mobile phone tower network.
I would attribute a lot of this (trading) activity down to M&A because it has reminded the market there is plenty of M&A activity to be had and you dont want to be short of targets. I think people are definitely conscious of what looks appealing from an M&A perspective. Is something undervalued, could it be better under different management?
The banks were split with Commonwealth Bank up 0.8 per cent, and both ANZ Bank and Westpac up 0.2 per cent, while National Australia Bank and Macquarie Bank both declined.
Bunnings owner Wesfarmers hit a record high of $62.77 during trade.
Building materials supplier AdBri closed at an 18-month high of $3.82. In the hot buy now, pay later sector Zip Co closed 0.6 per cent lower and Afterpay dropped slightly to $126.67. But Splitit jumped 23.1 per cent higher at 64¢ on the All Ords.
Oil producers closed higher despite crude prices falling to a two-week low on expectations of more travel lockdowns across Asia as the COVID Delta strain spreads into more regions.
Woodside Petroleum was up 1 per cent despite forecasting a 5 per cent cost increase in the Scarborough project.
Santos gained 0.6 per cent, and Oil Search added 1 per cent.

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