ASX extends winning streak to nine sessions

The n share market finished marginally higher on Wednesday but managed to extend a nine-session rally as the index approaches six-month highs.
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The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 1 point to end the day at 5890. The All Ordinaries index slipped 3 points to 5954. The n dollar was at US78.46 cents.

The recent hot run on the ASX has added $100 billion worth of value over the past nine sessions, with investors hopeful that the powerful sharemarket gains enjoyed in other countries has finally reached n shores.

“Risk assets are in a sweet spot where despite messages of pending monetary tightening and elevated valuations, improving growth momentum on the back of highly accommodative liquidity conditions is fuelling a coordinated rise,” Macquarie n equity strategist Jason Todd said.

” has been caught up in this slipstream, helped also by a move lower in the n dollar which was an underappreciated headwind through May-August this year,” Mr Todd said.

“We believe the best way to play an ongoing global risk rally is via banks who stand to gain from steepening yield curves as well as miners and energy and global industrials.”

By sector, an advance for healthcare and utility stocks offset losses from telecoms and consumer discretionary firms on Wednesday.

On the individual company level, Rio Tinto fell 0.8 per cent following news that two former executives have been charged with fraud by the SEC. BHP shares slipped 0.5 per cent after the mining giant released mixed production figures.

In a busy day for corporate news, Specialty Fashion Group plunged 14 per cent after it said its first half earnings will halve after poor trading conditions continued into the new financial year.

Crown shares fell 4.3 per cent after the firn deliberately tampered with poker machines to increase gamblers’ losses while turning a blind eye to drug use and domestic violence, federal parliament has been told.

Blood products giant CSL rose 1.8 per cent after averting a second strike against its remuneration report and reaffirming profit guidance.

Brambles boosted its first-quarter sales 6 per cent – a performance that impressed investors who pushed the stock 0.8 per cent higher.

LendLease was another heavy faller, losing 10.5 per cent after UBS downgraded the property manager after it sold some of its stake in its retirement living business.

Magellan Global Trust traded for the first time, the $1.6 billion listed investment trust managed by Magellan closed at $1.53 versus its $1.50 offer price. Market moversStock Watch: Afterpay Touch Group

Shares in the payments solutions company have continued their rally, bumping up 10.2 per cent on Wednesday to $5.18. Afterpay announced that underlying annualised sales are now tracking in excess of $1.5 billion based on its recent monthly performance. The fintech’s first quarter sales hit $367 million, up from $271 million in the fourth quarter and comes after Target, Luxottica and Petbarn recently adopted its online payments system. The company says more than 8600 merchants are now on board, up from about 6000 at June 30. More than 1.1 million customers now use the service, up from 841,000 at June 30 and new customers continue to grow on average by more than 3000 a day. Afterpay has also spread to travel after Jetstar began a trial of the platform last month for domestic bookings. China Congress

Markets around the region were cautious on Wednesday as China’s President Xi Jinping spoke at the opening of the Communist Party Congress. Though many expect little to emerge from the twice-a-decade congress in Beijing, investors will focus on any comments about de-leveraging, capacity reduction and the global belt-and-road infrastructure plan. While equities consolidated, there was violent movement in the Chinese yuan which is experiencing the largest average intraday swings in the past decade. Home loan arrears

The number of delinquent housing loans underlying n prime residential mortgage-backed securities fell to 1.1 per cent in August from 1.17 per cent in July, according to a recent report by S&P Global Ratings. The fall, which is not unusual because arrears typically have fallen in August for the past 10 years, was partly influenced by an increase in loan balances outstanding during the month, according to the ratings agency. Oil

Oil prices bumped higher on Wednesday, lifted by a fall in US crude inventories and concerns that tensions in the Middle East could disrupt supplies. Iraqi government forces captured the major Kurdish-held oil city of Kirkuk earlier this week, responding to a Kurdish independence referendum, and there are concerns that fighting could disrupt supplies. Traders said that prices were pushed up by a drop in US crude inventories, which fell by 7.1 million barrels in the week to October 13. Fed chair worries

Yields on two-year US Treasuries hit their highest since November 2008 amid speculation President Trump could choose a more hawkish leader to replace Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen. A Reuters poll conducted on a group of 40 economists said Jerome Powell was the next likely candidate after Janet Yellen. The majority surveyed expect Yellen to stay in place. Interest rates futures imply around a 90 per cent probability of a Fed hike in December.