ASX posts solid gains, healthcare at record highs

The improvement in risk appetite, suggesting investors have begun to price out the prospect of a full-scale war between the two nations, helped to spur on gains across most sectors on Thursday.

Technology stocks were the big winner for the session, gaining 2.2 per cent. The so-called ‘WAAAX’ stocks – Wisetech, Altium, Afterpay, Appen and Xero – all jumped more than 1.6 per cent.

The broader information technology sector has now risen 20.6 per cent since early August, leaving it just 2.4 per cent below the record highs hit in November last year.

While it didn’t manage to fresh highs during the session, the healthcare sector did, soaring 1.8 per cent, surpassing the previous mark hit in early December last year.

CSL and Resmed, the largest companies in subindex by market capitalisation, both rose to fresh highs, jumping 1.8 and 1.5 per cent respectively to close at $291.10 and $22.90.

Outside of health and tech stocks, industrials, communications and consumer discretionary all gained more than 1 per cent. Financials and materials posted smaller increases of 0.5 and 0.8 per cent respectively.

Those gains were partially offset by weakness in gold producers, reflecting a large reversal in bullion prices on Wednesday as risk aversion abated. Of the bottom 10 performers for the session, eight were gold miners. Resolute Mining led the falls, sliding 3.6 per cent to $1.215.

The energy sector was also pressured by a steep decline in crude oil prices overnight, finishing trade with a loss of 0.9 per cent. Woodside Petroleum slipped by a larger 1.5 per cent to $35.60 despite announcing the Senegalese government has given it the green light for a new offshore oil project.


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