The Business Times

Australia: Shares close higher on energy, tech boost

Published Tue, Aug 30, 2022 · 03:13 PM

AUSTRALIAN shares settled higher on Tuesday (Aug 30), as Woodside Energy boosted energy stocks after declaring a record interim dividend, and tech heavyweights gained following a sharp sell-off in the previous session.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.5 per cent higher at 6,998.3, recouping some of the losses suffered on Monday in its worst session since Jun 30.

On Monday, shares fell sharply after Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s promise of policy “pain” to contain inflation quashed hopes that the US central bank would ride to the rescue of markets as so often in the past.

“Energy producers and earnings-related announcements led today’s rebound in the market,” said Kunal Sawhney, chief executive officer of Kalkine Group.

“But for the rest of the week, the broader theme that is likely to shape market direction is Powell’s comments, which were heavily and unequivocally tilted towards continued tighter monetary policy.”

Shares of Woodside Energy rose 3.8 per cent to their highest since Jul 2, 2019, before paring some gains to close up 1.5 per cent.

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The gas producer more than tripled its interim dividend payout and posted a 5-fold increase in first-half profit on booming oil and gas prices and its takeover of BHP Group’s petroleum arm.

The broader energy sub-index climbed 1.4 per cent, also benefiting from higher oil prices.

Meanwhile, BHP said its shareholders had sought inclusion of climate sensitivity analysis in financial statements from 2023, and consistency on climate policy. Shares of the company closed down 0.6 per cent.

Shares of Mineral Resources hit a record high and topped gains on the benchmark index, a day after the company posted annual results. Brokerage Jefferies raised its price target for the stock, while UBS reiterated its “buy” rating.

Technology shares jumped 1.8 per cent, regaining some of the losses recorded on Monday.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index climbed 1.2 per cent to 11,648.65.

Dairy producer a2 Milk Co extended gains driven by better-than-expected annual results, and hit its highest since February. REUTERS

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