Aust shares higher before Biden era begins
Investors have enjoyed gains of 0.41 per cent after the ASX closed higher, helped by market giant BHP raising iron ore production targets and US stimulus expectations.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed higher by 27.8 points, or 0.41 per cent, to 6770.4 on Wednesday.
The All Ordinaries closed higher by 36 points, or 0.51 per cent, at 7051.0.
Information technology had the biggest gains, 2.54 per cent. Afterpay fetched a record $142.30 then closed higher by 5.22 per cent to $141.00. Cargo management software provider WiseTech Global closed up 4.81 per cent to $31.18.
The next best gains were in industrials (1.51 per cent) and energy (1.34 per cent).
The heavyweight materials sector rose 0.82 per cent after BHP raised its iron ore production target for the financial year.
Earlier, US markets closed higher after US Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen called on Congress to provide hefty stimulus. Incoming president Joe Biden will be sworn in on Thursday.
CMC Markets chief strategist Michael McCarthy called the ASX result modestly positive.
He said the market was fairly subdued in its response to the looming US stimulus.
"We've been trading in a fairly narrow band, and that's been the case since the beginning of December," he said.
"We're still stuck at this stage and looking for our next leg up."
The ASX200 is at the levels of late February, a little below the record 7197.2 set on February 20, before coronavirus worries began.
Mr McCarthy said it had appeared the surging price of iron ore, and the benefits for miners supplying Chinese steel-makers, might have taken the ASX to greater levels.
However he said something with wider appeal seemed to be needed.
Iron ore still helped BHP shares close higher than those of major rivals.
The miner raised its iron ore production target for the financial year after restarting a mining operation in Brazil.
BHP gave a half-year production update and said it would produce between 245 and 255 million tonnes of iron ore.
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