Australian sharemarket up for second straight day, helped by Evergrande payment news

The Australian sharemarket gained ground for the second consecutive day, helped by a positive development for debt-laden Chinese property colossus Evergrande.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed 0.32 per cent higher at 7296.9 while the All Ordinaries Index found 0.41 per cent to 7593.8.

OMG chief executive Ivan Tchourilov said the local bourse again dipped early in the trading session before marching higher.

Commodity prices remained flat overnight awaiting the reopening of Chinese markets, which were closed for Mid-Autumn Festival.

But all eyes were on the potential default of its second largest property developer.

“News that Evergrande reached an agreement on its next interest payment quelled market fear, however, long-term prospects for the company are still in question as Beijing continues regulatory crackdowns,” Mr Tchourilov said.

“The scare, which affected international markets more than our own, showcases the fickle sentiment that has taken over the market since reporting season ended.

“The ‘September slide’ is well and truly in effect.”

CommSec analyst James Tao said news that Evergrande had reached some sort of agreement to repay bondholders boosted the ASX and most Asian markets.

“A bit of a risk-on mode kicking in,” Mr Tao said.

“Energy and materials stocks in particular have seen some decent improvements.”

Beach Energy advanced 5.12 per cent to $1.13, Woodside gained 2.44 per cent to $21.43, Oil Search put on 2.39 per cent to $3.85 and Santos rose 1.94 per cent to $6.31.

AGL held its annual general meeting and added 2.9 per cent to $5.68.

“Still one of the worst performers year-to-date in 2021 with its stock about 52 per cent lower,” Mr Tao said.

Rio Tinto lifted 2.68 per cent to $98.27, BHP strengthened 2.4 per cent to $38.66, Fortescue jumped 4.2 per cent to $15.37 and Champion Iron rallied 5.35 per cent to $4.92 after receiving a broker upgrade.

Citi now has a buy recommendation on Champion Iron, saying the iron ore price may hold at $US100 plus per tonne levels for longer than the market expects, with concerns about future large-scale iron ore exports from Guinea now looking much less certain.

Citi said the miner’s share price had underperformed recently, which was enough to upgrade it from a neutral recommendation.

Mr Tchourilov said the big four banks traded lower on the back of news that Westpac’s sale of its Fiji and PNG arms to Kina Securities had been abandoned after the deal was blocked by regulators earlier in the month.

“Papua New Guinea’s consumer and competition regulator blocked the sale on grounds that Kina, who already has operations in PNG, would become too large in comparison with competitors and essentially have a monopoly on the market,” Mr Tchourilov said.

“This means that Westpac is stuck with its Pacific operations for the time being, in spite of its intentions to exit the markets and consolidate operations to only Australia and New Zealand.”

Australian sharemarket up for second straight day, helped by Evergrande payment news

Camera IconWestpac’s sale of its Westpac Fiji and Westpac PNG arms to Kina Securities had been abandoned. NCA NewsWire / Christian Gilles Credit: News Corp Australia

Westpac shed 1.11 per cent to $24.91, ANZ eased 0.22 per cent to $27.09, Commonwealth Bank gave up 0.7 per cent to $99.64 and National Australia Bank gave up the same amount to $26.91.

Buy-now-pay-later provider Zip announced it was entering the Indian market through an investment in ZestMoney.

Zip shares gained 4.33 per cent to $6.51.

Computershare co-founder Chris Morris advised he won’t be standing for re-election at the annual general meeting in November, when shareholders will vote on the appointment of California-based senior finance executive John Nendick as non-executive director.

“Little did I know all those years ago that the business I co-founded would go on to be the global success it is today,” Mr Morris said.

“I expect to remain a shareholder to see the benefits of growth strategies and investments come to fruition.”

Shares in Computershare fell 1.09 per cent to $16.33.

Solomon Lew-led fashion retail group Premier Investments was a poor performer, retreating 4.49 per cent to $26.81.

The company ranked low in an Australian Institute of Company Directors report on female representation on the boards of ASX200 companies, with women accounting for 25 per cent of its top brass.

Bunnings owner Wesfarmers inched 0.28 per cent lower to $57.23 while Qantas backtracked 0.55 per cent to $5.47 and Telstra improved 0.5 per cent to $3.95.

The Aussie dollar was buying 72.5 US cents, 53.11 British pence and 61.81 Euro cents in afternoon trade.

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