Both the S&P/ASX 200 and the All Ordinaries closed just a fraction short of fresh record highs on Monday, falling at the end of the day after spending most of the session boosted by stronger than expected manufacturing data from China. Following the release of data showing China’s manufacturing sector grew at the fastest pace since late 2019 during Monday’s session, Chinese steel prices rallied, helping to reverse earlier weakness in iron ore futures.
In early afternoon trade, iron ore futures on the Singapore Exchange were trading at $US85.65 per tonne, up from $US83.33 earlier in the session. This boosted stocks like Fortescue Metals Group, which leapt 3 per cent to an all-time high of $10.02, while BlueScope Steel gained 2.2 per cent to $14.87.
The S&P/ASX 200 ended the session at 6862.3 points, a gain of 0.2 per cent. This is despite spending most of the day above 6870 points. The All Ords closed 0.2 per cent higher at 6965.3, just 0.3 points below the record high reached last week.
Five sectors underperformed the market – energy, consumer discretionary, communications, industrials and information technology –while six closed higher. The best performer was utilities, up 1.1 per cent due in part to a 2.6 per cent rise in APA Group to $11.28 after analysts at JP Morgan increased their price target to $11.40.