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US-China trade breakthrough brings in healthy ASX gains

A mid-year federal budget downgrade was overshadowed by a long-awaited trade deal between the United States and China. 

Global markets had a mixed response after the weekend’s news, but all sectors of the ASX saw green throughout the day.

The ASX 200tacked on 110 points to close at 6849.70. Nearing the end of the trading session, the index was 2 points above its all-time-high closing price from late November.

Health care stocks were the darlings of the day as healthy gains across the board led today’s strong run. CSL and Cochlear teased their record share prices from early December with 2.51 and 2.90 per cent inclines, respectively. 

Private healthcare provider Ramsay Health Care joined the party with a 2.66 per cent gain.

The banking sector supported the stock market’s rise with Virgin Money UK seeing its second spike in two sessions. With Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party landslide win last week, Virgin Money added another 30 cents or 8.09 per cent to its share price today. Since Thursday’s close, Virgin Money has gained 16.76 per cent. 

Australia’s big four all saw gains of around 1.5 per cent today.

Automotive retailer A.P. Eagers spearheaded a day of strong gains for consumer stocks with a 4.11 per cent rise. Health supplement company Blackmores followed suit by adding $2.99 to its share price with a 3.54 per cent incline. 

Supermarket giant Woolworths rose 0.56 per cent as the company’s Chairman and CEO remained positive at the group’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) despite a year of scandals and setbacks. Coles gained 1.06 per cent and Wesfarmers 2.37 per cent.

Resources stocks remained a pillar for the ASX with our mining giants picking up where they left off last week and rising some more. 

Perenti Global was the only stain on the sector. The mining services company lost a contract with Ghana Manganese Company and then slashed its 2020 profit guidance by almost $25 million. Perenti closed 18.90 per cent down.

Iron ore producer Fortescue Metals has now gained 19.89 per cent in just one month, today adding another nine cents to its share price. The company closed trading with shares worth $10.81 each.

Logistics software company WiseTech struggled to keep shares afloat and posted its fifth straight loss since announcing the purchase of Ready Korea last Tuesday.

The rest of the technology sector followed the day’s trends, however, with Xero rising 2.16 per cent and Afterpay 1.95 per cent. 

Overseas, Asian markets were mixed. The Asia Dowsaw consistent green while Japan’s Nikkei 225danced between green and red over the Aussie trading day. By market close down under, the Japanese index was down 0.12 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shaved off 87.18 points in a 0.31 per cent decline. 

The Australian dollar eased back with today’s budget cut, currently buying 68.72 US cents 51.3 pence, and 1151.98 Congolese franc. 

Today’s ups and downs

ASX 200-listed meditech company Polynovo rose 3.09 per cent following a feel-good report that it is supplying its burn treatment product to those injured in New Zealand’s White Island volcano eruption.

Small-cap explorer Meteoric slumped almost 32 per cent today after an underwhelming report from first assays of its Novo Astro Gold Project in Brazil. While one hole reported some strong grades of gold, the rest of the assayed drill holes left a lot to be desired. Meteoric ended the day with shares worth 3.2 cents each. 

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