Markets live, Friday, February 4, 2022

Australian stocks posted their biggest weekly gain since December as the tech sector rebounded and energy stocks rose, boosting the market on Friday despite a volatile lead from Wall Street.

The ASX 200 climbed 0.6%, closing 42.1 points higher at 7,120, with all sectors ending the week higher, including tech stocks despite Facebook’s record drop which gave the Nasdaq its worst performance since 2020.

The RBA’s surprisingly dovish stance on interest rates on Tuesday played an important role in keeping financial markets calm at a time when there was little corporate news to move the market.

The release of the RBA’s monetary policy statement on Friday did not have its usual profile in a week when the RBA’s board meeting on Tuesday and Governor Philip Lowe’s speech at the Press Club were followed by so close by the market.

The ASX had its best week since last December. Credit:Louie Douvis

“It hasn’t had much of an impact on the market, and I think part of the reason is that the Reserve Bank has had a number of opportunities to express its general thinking on the economy.” , Steven Daghlian, market analyst at Commsec, said Friday. .

Harley Dale, chief economist at CreditorWatch, said the tone of the statement was similar to Mr Lowe’s upbeat assessment on Wednesday.

“While apparently quite optimistic on the economic outlook – a good thing for business and consumer confidence – the key point is the quote: The Council has ruled that it is too early to conclude that inflation is in a sustainable in the target range. Until the RBA changes its mind on this front, it will not raise rates,” he said.

With Chinese markets closed for Chinese New Year, the biggest market influence turned out to be US earnings reports. Local tech stocks and U.S. tech investor Magellan Financial Group plunged on Thursday in response to early signals that Facebook was on the verge of a record plunge after reporting a drop in active users and revenue issues.

The tech sector ended down nearly 6% on Thursday, but rebounded on Friday with Facebook’s record rout — and Nasdaq’s worst drop since 2020 — already priced in.

Energy stocks played a big role throughout the week as the sector rose nearly 5%, and that continued on Friday with rising energy prices pushing Woodside Petroleum and Santos d at least 1%.

South32 led the gains in large-cap stocks, closing up 3.3% on Friday.

Boral closed 42% lower at $3.80, but that was due to the stock being ex-dividend at $2.72 per share as part of a $3 billion capital return. dollars for investors like Kerry Stokes.

Strong results from News Corp and REA Group helped support the market, with the former closing up 5.8% at $33.38 on ad revenue surging.

REA’s results also indicated that there is still pent-up demand to buy properties despite expectations of an interest rate hike as early as August.

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