ASX ends losing streak, tech shares best

·4-min read

Investors have stopped a five-day slide on the Australian market but one analyst says they may simply be "buying the dip" as economic growth concerns linger.

Technology shares proved most popular, up 1.68 per cent, following strong support for the category on Wall Street on Friday.

Artificial intelligence software vendor Appen rose more than seven per cent to $12.84.

Australia's big miners improved compared to their big losses last week from falling iron ore prices.

BHP closed higher by 0.27 per cent after losing more than 16 per cent last week.

Fortescue on Monday fell more than four per cent. Rio Tinto dropped by half a per cent.

Most industry categories closed higher but IG Markets analyst Kyle Rodda said investors could just be buying due to what they see as a dip in market value.

He said the spread of the coronavirus' Delta variant was adding to concerns about the rate of global economic growth.

Millions of people around Sydney and Victoria continue to endure lockdown and the virus may yet do more economic damage overseas.

China had an outbreak last month but on Monday reported no new local infections for the first time since July.

Meanwhile investors will monitor this week's US Federal Reserve symposium for clues on when the central bank may begin slowing its $US120 billion purchases of government bonds.

Some are concerned the Fed may ease support for the economy just as economic growth starts ebbing.

Still, investors put these concerns to one side and helped the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index close higher by 29 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 7489.9.

The All Ordinaries closed up 36 points, or 0.47 per cent, to 7761.1.

Company earnings season continues. Those giving earnings on Tuesday include building materials supplier Boral, shopping platform Kogan, Oil Search and job advertising platform Seek.

Earlier, Sonic Healthcare showed how helpful COVID-19 testing has been to its revenues.

Coronavirus testing played a notable part in a 149 per cent increase in net profit after tax to $1.3 billion.

Sonic leaders said they expected significant coronavirus testing revenue to continue as the Delta variant spreads.

The figures were not enough for investors who sent shares lower by 2.76 per cent to $41.65.

New Zealand fuel distributor Z Energy sprung by 14.53 per cent to $3.31 after a takeover offer from Ampol.

The Australian company wants to buy all the Z Energy shares on the New Zealand stock exchange for $NZ3.78 each.

Ampol returned to first-half profit and reported a $326 million net profit after tax.

Shares were lower by 4.76 per cent to $26.22.

Shares in insurer NIB fell 11 per cent to $7.10 despite full-year profit being up 84 per cent.

Claims were fewer than anticipated and net profit after tax was $160.5 million.

Shareholders will receive a higher final dividend of 14 cents per share, fully franked.

Super Retail Group, which owns Supercheap Auto and Rebel, had its shares slump by 4.62 per cent to $12.18 after they traded ex-dividend.

Telecommunications group TPG continued to slide after its full-year earnings on Friday. Shares on Monday dropped 5.78 per cent to $6.20.

Among the big banks, most were little changed. The Commonwealth was the only one of the big four to show substantial movement. It shares gained 0.91 per cent to $100.17.

The Australian dollar was buying 71.52 US cents at 1724 AEST, higher than 71.32 US cents at Friday's close.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 29 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 7489.9 on Monday.

* The All Ordinaries closed up 36 points, or 0.47 per cent, to 7761.1.

* At 1724 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was lower by four points, or 0.05 per cent, at 7426 points.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 71.52 US cents, from 71.32 cents on Friday

* 78.63 Japanese yen, from 77.99 yen

* 61.07 Euro cents, from 60.89 cents

* 52.43 British pence, from 52.25 pence

* 104.62 NZ cents, from 104.43 cents.

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