The local share market has bounced back from three days of sharp losses with its best session since mid-January.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Wednesday up 60 points, or 0.86 per cent, to 7,068.9, its best single-day performance since a 1.2 per cent gain on January 12. The broader All Ordinaries rose 62 points, or 0.86 per cent, to 7,263.1.
“The market is doing well, clearly recovering the sell-off that was sparked by the fear of failure of regional banks in the US,” Tribeca Investment Partners portfolio manager Jun Bei Liu told AAP.
“And that has been well-contained now in the US, which we saw overnight, the US regional banks were rallying, and the credit risk has sort of eased off, and our markets performed well.”
The gains followed a rally on Wall Street, where the S&P500 index lifted 1.7 per cent on signs that US inflation is slowing – although not by quite as much as expected.
US consumer prices in February were six per cent higher than they were a year ago, down from an annual rise of 6.4 per cent in January, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.
ANZ researchers Brian Martin and Daniel Hynes said in a note that the “figures were largely as expected but confirm the Fed still has work to do to get inflation under control”.
They predicted a 25 basis point US rate hike next week, but Ms Bei Liu said a bigger one was still a possibility.
“So there’s a bit of risk there, if they rise 50 (basis points), the market might be disappointed.”
Nine of the ASX’s 11 official sectors finished higher, with energy flat and consumer discretionary shares slightly lower.
Tech stocks were the biggest gainers, climbing 2.4 per cent as Xero climbed 4.0 per cent to a six-month high of $88.47.
The financial sector added 0.9 per cent, with gains for all of the major banks after the three-day sell-off.
Westpac and ANZ both climbed 1.1 per cent, to $21.65 and $23.29, respectively, while NAB rose 0.8 per cent to $28.31 and CBA edged 0.2 per cent higher at $95.40.
Woolworths finished up 0.7 per cent to $36.64 after having being down as much as 1.1 per cent in early afternoon trading.
The heavyweight mining sector added 0.9 per cent, which Ms Bei Liu attributed to data coming out showing China was recovering “quite quickly” from its lockdowns.
BHP rose 1.2 per cent to $45.56, Rio Tinto advanced 1.7 per cent to $119.55 and Fortescue Metals gained 1.3 per cent to $21.73.
Goldminers were down as the price of the precious metal ebbed amid the risk-on environment. Newcrest dropped 0.4 per cent and Northern Star fell 1.3 per cent after announcing operations at its Pogo goldmine in Alaska would have to be halted for six weeks due to a damaged ball mill motor.
29 Metals plunged 14.8 per cent to an all-time low of $1.185 after announcing that weather-related damage to its Capricorn Copper mine in Mount Isa Shire, Queensland, had been more severe than first thought.
Some 500mm of rain fell over the region from March 6 to 10, the highest weekly rainfall ever recorded in the region, and access to the site was only recently restored. Interruptions to operations are expected to take three to four months, the company said.
Neuren Pharmaceuticals soared another 19.4 per cent to an all-time high of $11.90, for a gain of 55 per cent over the past three days. The Melbourne company announced on Monday that its treatment for a rare neurological disease had won US approval.
In cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin was up nearly two per cent to a nine-month high of $A36,900, apparently boosted by the banking chaos in the United States.
The Australian dollar was buying 66.82 US cents, from 66.49 US cents at Tuesday’s ASX close.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Wednesday up 60 points, or 0.86 per cent, at 7,068.9.
* The broader All Ordinaries added 62 points, or 0.86 per cent, to 7,263.1.
One Australian dollar buys:
* 66.82 US cents, from 66.49 US cents at Tuesday’s ASX close
* 90.02 Japanese yen, from 89.01 Japanese yen
* 62.25 Euro cents, from 62.13 Euro cents
* 54.98 British pence, from 54.70 pence
* 107.54 NZ cents, from 107.06 NZ cents
(Australian Associated Press)