“However, interest rates are low, consumer balance sheets are in good shape and central banks continue to be accommodative, so if we are able to navigate through the tail risks until the vaccine is widely distributed in a year or two, we may be left with a good setup for equities that offer attractive investment opportunities for long-term investors.”
The major banks led the market higher. Commonwealth Bank rose 0.9 per cent to $83.18, ANZ climbed 0.8 per cent to $23.10 and NAB advanced 0.2 per cent to $22.98 while Westpac closed flat at $19.56.
Macquarie Group was also firmer, adding 1.2 per cent to $138.88.
Other blue chip stocks also helped lead the market higher. CSL advanced 0.3 per cent to $289.52, Goodman Group firmed 2.6 per cent to $19.16, Afterpay climbed 1.5per cent to $114.99, Wesfarmers added 0.7 per cent to $51.24, Woolworths gained 1 per cent to close at $39.79 and Aristocrat Leisure added 2 per cent to $31.23.
Stockland advanced 3.6 per cent to $4.31 after it formed a joint venture partnership with JP Morgan Asset Management to target a $1 billion portfolio of industrial properties that Stockland will manage.
SmartGroup shares advanced 7.6 per cent to $6.78 after it upgraded adjusted net profit after tax for the full year ended December 31 to $65 million, supported by an improved operating EBITDA margin in the second half of the year.
Mesoblast ended a six-session rout on Wednesday, rising 9.2 per cent to $2.37. In the last six sessions, it had fallen more than 50 per cent after the regenerative medicine company missed the primary goal in a trial of its  treatment, Revascor.
City Chic Collective firmed 7.3 per cent to $3.84 after concluding a deal to acquire the Evans brand e-commerce and wholesale businesses from Arcadia for £23.1 million ($41 million).
ASX newcomer Payright suffered a heavy loss on its first day of trading, sliding 13.3 per cent to $1.04. The buy now, pay later company had raised $18.5 million at $1.20 a share as part of its initial public offering.
Benz Mining fared better on its debut, climbing 144 per cent to $1.22. The Canadian company listed at 50¢ a share after raising $2 million through its IPO.
The losses were largely led by the miners with BHP Group dropping 1 per cent to $42.45, South32 falling 0.8 per cent to $2.49 and Rio Tinto declining 0.5 per cent to $114.85.
The gold miners faced heavy selling.
Ramelius Resources dropped 3.3 per cent to $1.60, Westgold slid 3 per cent to $2.57, Newcrest Mining declined 2.1 per cent to $26.17, Resolute Mining fell 3.8 per cent to 76¢, Gold Road Resources tumbled 1.6 per cent to $1.25, OZ Minerals lost 1.9 per cent to $18.74 and Perseus Mining closed 0.8 per cent lower at $1.25.

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