ASX surges following a strong US performance

April 16, 2020 Updated: April 16, 2020

The Australian share market has risen in early trade following a strong overnight performance by US giants Amazon and Netflix and ahead of looming Chinese GDP data.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was up 89.1 points, or 1.65 percent, at 5,505.4 points after 30 minutes of trade on April 17 after the major US indices climbed in volatile overnight trade.

The All Ordinaries index was up 92 points, or 1.68 percent, to 5,559.6.

The early rise comes after US tech giants helped Wall Street higher amid new shutdown orders in New York and the UK.

Local property stocks were the strongest out the gate with Vicinity, Mirvac, Goodman, and GPT up by between 3.62 percent and 5.51 percent.

Westfield shopping centre owner Scentre Group climbed by 9.22 percent to $2.25.

The big banks were also strong, Commonwealth Bank up by 1.4 percent to $62.12, Westpac rising 1.26 percent to $16.12, NAB gaining 1.84 percent to $16.58 and ANZ up by 1.69 percent to $16.86.

Macquarie Group rose 3.27 percent to $102.24.

Health benchmark CSL climbed 1.88 percent to $330.98 while Ramsay Health Care rose 3.98 percent to $66.34.

Big miner BHP was up 1.85 percent to $31.36 while Rio Tinto gained 3.07 percent to $91.27 after reporting Pilbara iron ore output and shipments are higher compared to a year ago.

Fortescue Metals gained 2.23 percent to $11.47.

Toll giant Transurban bounced back with a 5.91 percent gain to $13.08 while Sydney Airport also helped lift the industrial sector.

Shares in the airport were up 5.34 percent to $6.11 after it won government approval to temporarily close its east-west runway and use it as a parking lot for grounded aircraft.

Tech stocks also gained ground, with the so-called WAAAX companies – Wisetech, Appen, Afterpay, Altium and Xero – up by between 0.61 percent and 9.6 percent.

The energy sector was up by a collective 1.23 percent despite a mixed performance for oil prices overnight.

Consumer staples the only sector subdued in early trade, flat despite a 0.35 percent gain for supermarket Woolworths and a 0.52 percent gain for Coles.

Coca-Cola Amatil dropped by 2.07 percent to $9.00 after temporarily withdrawing its dividend payout ratio guidance.

Attention will turn to Chinese GDP in the early afternoon with the nation’s economy expected to have shrunk by 6.2 percent over the past 12-months because of the COVID-19 shutdown throughout January and February.

The Australian dollar was buying 63.61 US cents at 1030 AEST, up from 63.02 US cents at the close of markets on Thursday.

By Alex Druce