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ASX ends larger, best week in 12 months

A late spike on the Australian share market has ensured its best week in more than 12 months, despite no end to the war in Ukraine and a string of US rate rises forecast.

Materials and energy shares powered the indices for much of Friday and helped produce a third consecutive day of gains.

The ASX gained 3.27 per cent over five days in which the US Federal Reserve raised rates for the first time since 2018, and projected six increases to come this year.

Tribeca portfolio manager Jun Bei Liu was among those impressed by the resilience of the Australian market.

“It’s certainly surprising to see our market being so positive,” she said.

“All the uncertainty has not gone away.”

The Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to keep commodity prices elevated. Oil stayed above three-figures and Brent crude last traded for $US108.69 per tonne.

Ms Liu noted financial and technology stocks as the better performing categories this week. They improved by six and seven per cent respectively.

Financials were helped by increasing expectations of higher rates.

“Banks usually benefit from higher interest rates, as they can charge more,” Ms Liu said.

Technology stocks are usually hurt by the high levels of inflation which are forcing central banks to raise rates.

Ms Liu suspected another reason for their boom this week.

“A lot of the tech stocks have been sold so much in the past month, you’re getting bargain hunters coming back,” she said.

For the current trading day, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 43.6 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 7294.4 points.

The index is down 338 points from its record high in August last year.

The All Ordinaries index was higher by 49.6 points, or 0.66 per cent, at 7571.2 points.

In stock news and moves, casino operator Star fell after revelations a day earlier that the business disguised $900 million in transactions as hotel expenses to help guests dodge controls over using the money for gambling.

A NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority inquiry is investigating whether The Star Sydney has been infiltrated by criminals and is fit to keep its casino licence.

Star was down three per cent to $3.19.

Commonwealth Bank boss Matt Comyn sold some shares in his employer and collected $1.4 million.

Mr Comyn sold 13,520 shares for $103.40 each.

The bank was little changed at $106.29.

Macquarie was one of the better financial shares. It rose one per cent to $194.80.

Lender Plenti secured a corporate debt facility for the next two years to help grow its business.

Boss Daniel Foggo said the initial drawdown of $18 million would help achieve the medium-term target of a $5 billion loan book.

Plenti was up six per cent to 95 cents.

Energy shares were the top category, with Woodside improving two per cent to $31.37.

The iron ore miners outperformed the market. Fortescue rose two per cent to $18.57, while BHP and Rio Tinto each gained one per cent, to $46.25 and $110.34 respectively.

The competition watchdog will not take action over logistics company Qube’s purchase of the Newcastle Agri Terminal in NSW.

Qube completed its purchase last year before the ACCC could consider its repercussions for the market.

The ACCC said it would monitor the situation.

Qube was little changed to $3.01.

The Australian dollar was buying 74.08 US cents at 1723 AEDT, higher from 73.15 US cents at Thursday’s close.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 43.6 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 7294.4 points on Friday.

* The All Ordinaries index was higher by 49.6 points, or 0.66 per cent, at 7571.2 points.

* At 1723 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was up five points, or 0.07 per cent, at 7269 points.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 74.08 US cents, from 73.15 cents on Thursday

* 87.99 Japanese yen, from 86.81 yen

* 66.81 Euro cents, from 66.28 cents

* 56.26 British pence, from 55.55 pence

* 107.24 NZ cents, from 106.80 cents.

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