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Markets wrap: ASX investors end the week in a better mood as tech, telco stocks surge

ASX investors finished the week in a far better mood than they began it as technology and telecommunications shares helped fuel a solid Friday rise.

A sharp three-day fall stretching either side of Anzac Day blighted the start of another holiday-shortened trading week, but a rally in the final two sessions limited the bourse to a 1.3 per cent weekly decline.

Friday’s session was a strong one for the more speculative end of the local market, with tech names Block Inc, Xero, Wisetech Global, Appen, Altium, Computershare, and EML Payments joining Zip Co in the winner’s circle after a booming overnight performance from the tech-heavy Nasdaq index.

Blood giant CSL, Sonic Healthcare, Cochlear, Fisher and Paykel also jumped, while the local telecommunications sector surged on gains for Telstra, Seek, REA Group, Carsales.com, and Domain Group Holdings.

MARKET WRAP
Camera IconThe benchmark ASX 200 ultimately added 78.1 points. NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper Credit: News Corp Australia

The benchmark ASX 200 ultimately added 78.1 points, or 1.1 per cent, to close the week at 7435.0, having slumped to a six-week nadir of 7233.3 on Wednesday.

The broader All Ordinaries also rose 1.1 per cent on Friday, adding 82.4 points, as it settled at 7724.8.

The Aussie dollar was stead near 71.50 US cents at the local close.

Wall Street investors set the Australian index up for a stellar session after several big technology companies clawed back some of the heavy losses suffered in recent weeks.

Facebook parent Meta Platforms gained 17.6 per cent after reporting it had returned to user growth, while Apple rose 4.5 per cent ahead of what turned out to be a strong set of financial results.

The company run by Tim Cook did, however, slide in after-hours trade, along with fellow giant Amazon, which fell about 10 per cent on a disappointing forecast.

OANDA Asia Pacific analyst Jeffrey Halley said regional traders appeared content to brush aside a sagging US futures market and instead focus on the booming performance of the US session proper.

ASX
Camera IconFriday’s session was a strong one for the more speculative end of the local market. NCA NewsWire / James Gourley Credit: News Corp Australia

“I am taking the rally today in Asia with a grain of salt as month-end flows may be distorting the true picture,” he said.

“Similarly, readers should apply the same scepticism to large moves in European and US markets (on Friday night), although with Wall Street off its schizophrenia medication this week, anything could happen there.”

Sources of anxiety are certainly in plentiful supply – as demonstrated by this week’s volatility – with wars, inflation, slowdowns, overheating economies, supply chain disruptions, energy shortages and monetary policy moves all playing a part.

On Friday, however, the ASX 200 was largely a positive place.

There were slight declines for BHP and Fortescue Metals, while Rio Tinto ended the session flat, but a 6 per cent gain for Pilbara Minerals and a 4.1 per cent rise for lithium player Allkem to $12.25 helped the mining sector finish ahead.

Nickel Mines rose 7.4 per cent to $1.315, Vulcan Energy jumped 1.7 per cent to $8.48, Core Lithium was 2.2 per cent higher at $1.40, and Mount Gibson Iron was up 4.5 per cent to 70 cents.

The gold miners were also luminous, with the precious metal finding support near $US1880 an ounce to boost Newcrest by 0.6 per cent to $26.88 and Northern Star 0.7 per cent higher to $9.82.

Energy companies rose as oil prices rallied on reports Germany and Hungary will join a ban on Russian imports.

MARKET WRAP
Camera IconEnergy companies rose and the banks also finished ahead. NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper Credit: News Corp Australia

The banks also finished ahead, with Commonwealth Bank rising 0.6 per cent to $103.88 and Westpac 1.2 per cent higher at $23.87.

ANZ rose 0.8 per cent to $27.30, NAB gained 1.4 per cent to $32.63 and Macquarie Group jumped 1.8 per cent to $206.98.

Block Inc gained 0.6 per cent to finish the week at $145.20, while Zip Co rose 7.9 per cent to $1.095.

Xero added 2.6 per cent to $96.35, Wisetech Global gained 2.1 per cent to $45.27, Appen finished 4.9 per cent ahead at $6.66, and Altium was 2.6 per cent higher at $32.87.

Telstra rose 1.8 per cent to $4.04, Seek was up 4.2 per cent to $28.38, REA Group jumped 2.9 per cent to $129.42, and Carsales ended the week 3.5 per cent higher at $21.38.

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