ASX at record close entering break

·4-min read

Shares finished the week at a record closing level on the ASX as a fund manager tipped infrastructure assets to give long-term value on increasingly pricey markets.

Materials and technology stocks powered the main index as investors stayed cool despite rising US inflation data.

BHP and Fortescue gained more than one per cent after iron ore prices climbed. Rio Tinto was little changed.

There were whopping increases for some technology vendors.

Artificial intelligence provider Appen surged 5.56 per cent to $13.85.

Buy now, pay later provider Afterpay climbed 3.68 per cent to $103.52.

Technology stocks were the biggest beneficiaries on US markets following the May consumer price index (CPI) data.

Technology shares can be hit hard by fears of rising inflation and rates. These companies often rely on borrowing.

However experts reasoned the higher US prices mostly came from commodities and airfares, and the surge would be short-lived.

Investors relaxed and kept US markets at lofty heights.

Those heights make it hard for people such as VanEck Australia deputy head of investments Jamie Hannah to find growth opportunities.

He tipped infrastructure assets and funds as having potential.

"The money that's being put into infrastructure by the US government, and the European Union, is huge," he said.

US President Joe Biden wants to spend about $US1 trillion on roads, bridges, rail and broadband to further stimulate the economy.

Mr Hannah said that had implications for would-be contractors.

"Infrastructure companies are set to win contracts and deliver more projects," he said.

Transurban and Sydney Airport are among the big ones on the ASX.

Yet Mr Hannah said investors should not limit themselves to Australian providers.

Meanwhile the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 9.8 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 7312.3.

The All Ordinaries closed up by 18.4 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 7577.2.

A drop in financial shares of 0.76 per cent limited gains.

For the week, the market gained 0.23 per cent.

Victoria on Friday reported no coronavirus infections after a two-week lockdown ended for people in Melbourne.

Premier Investments raised its full-year retail earnings forecast by about 90 per cent after booming sales this year.

Solomon Lew's company, which owns Just Jeans and Smiggle, has benefited from Australian and New Zealand stores trading for most of the year compared to the lockdowns of early 2020.

Shares were up 0.4 per cent to $27.44.

Adelaide casino operator SkyCity is betting on bigger profits as the expanded venue and its New Zealand ones help earnings.

The company has been welcoming gamblers back as Australia and New Zealand better control virus outbreaks.

SkyCity forecast full-year net profit after tax of between $NZ84 million and $NZ88 million. This would be more than $NZ66.3 million last financial year.

Shares were even at $3.31.

In financials, Bank of Queensland had one of the most notable falls. Shares lost 1.57 per cent to $8.77.

The big four banks were all lower.

ANZ lost 1.53 per cent to $28.25. Westpac also shed more than one per cent.

Next week will be a shortened trading one due to the Queen's Birthday public holiday on Monday.

On Tuesday, the minutes of the Reserve Bank's June monetary policy meeting will be published. The bank kept the cash rate at a record low 0.1 per cent.

On Thursday, Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe is due to speak at an Australian Farm Institute forum in Toowoomba.

Job figures for May will be published on the same day.

The Australian dollar was buying 77.67 US cents at 1720 AEST, higher from 77.40 US cents at Thursday's close.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 9.8 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 7312.3 on Friday.

* The All Ordinaries closed up by 18.4 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 7577.2.

* At 1720 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was trading lower by 4 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 7307.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 77.67 US cents, from 77.40 cents on Thursday

* 84.98 Japanese yen, from 84.68 yen

* 63.78 Euro cents, from 63.57 cents

* 54.86 British pence, from 54.90 pence

* 107.85 NZ cents, from 107.80 cents.

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