Markets wrap: ASX snaps three-session losing streak as miners surge, Meta offers encouragement

Mining companies lifted the Australian sharemarket to its best session since early January as the appetite for equities got a major boost from Facebook parent Meta.

The Australian sharemarket snapped a three-session losing streak in convincing style on Thursday, with mining companies firing and US tech giant Meta offering encouragement from across the Pacific.

Iron ore giants Fortescue Metals, BHP and Rio Tinto were the most impressive performers at the top end of Thursday’s market as the benchmark ASX 200 jumped 95.7 points, or 1.3 per cent, to close at 7356.9.

The broader All Ordinaries added 95.4 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 7642.2, while the Aussie dollar dipped to 71.17 at the local close.

The gains came after commodity prices edged higher, although lingering enthusiasm for proposed Chinese stimulus measures were more likely to have triggered the rebound in the materials and energy sectors.

A glowing after-hours result from Facebook owner Meta also proved a confidence boost for ASX traders, who hitched their wagon to a soaring US futures market ahead of results from tech giants Apple and Amazon.

OANDA Asia-Pacific analyst Jeffrey Halley said the fortunes of those two US titans would likely have more of an impact on investor sentiment than Meta’s return to user growth but noted the local market had very much picked up on enthusiasm around Mark Zuckerberg’s company.

“Wall Street’s main indexes had a sideways day overnight … The Meta results though have lifted US index futures sharply (and are) lifting other tech heavyweights,” Mr Halley said.

“That has been enough to spark a relief rally of sorts in Asia today, although a barrage of infrastructure spending talk in China helped lift the gloom in China markets yesterday.”

Gains for nearly every local sector delivered the strongest session for the ASX 200 in three months and halted a hefty three-day decline that had featured big losses for mining companies.

BHP rose 4.4 per cent to $48.02 on Thursday after falling more than 13 per cent over the previous week, while Rio Tinto gained 3.5 per cent to $112.80 after a 10 per cent drop.

Fortescue Metals basically recouped all of last week’s losses with a staggering 8.1 per cent gain to $21.73 after reporting that it was on track to set a new export record.

Mineral Resources rose 4.8 per cent to $58.15, Champion Iron bounced 4.6 per cent to $7.34, BlueScope Steel rose 3 per cent to $20.50 and South32 was up 3.3 per cent to $4.75.

A slew of production reports delivered mixed fortunes for gold miners and lithium names, but copper ore explorer Sandfire Resources managed to shoot the lights out with a 11.9 per cent rise to $5.82 on its own “transformational” quarter.

The major banks mostly finished higher, with Commonwealth Bank up 0.2 per cent to $103.23, Westpac rising 0.6 per cent to $23.59 and ANZ adding 0.7 per cent to $27.09.

NAB was flat at $32.19, while Macquarie Group rose 1.3 per cent to $203.27.

Supermarket Coles recovered from a weak start to finish 0.6 per cent higher at $18.47 after reporting strong third-quarter sales growth.

Major rival Woolworths rose 0.6 per cent to $38.13 and Westfarmers gained 0.7 per cent to $48.70.

Other blue-chip winners included healthcare giant CSL, toll road operator Transurban, gaming machine firm Aristocrat Leisure and packaging company Amcor.

Tech firm Block Inc added 3.1 per cent to $144.36. while rival payments provider Splitit banked an astonishing 54.8 per cent gain to 32.5 cents on strong merchant sales volumes, revenue growth and a deal with Google around its Japanese customers.

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