The Australian share market is set to end the week up, with the local currency also continuing to rise against the greenback.
At 1:00pm AEDT, the ASX 200 was up 0.9 per cent to 6,774.
After a shaky week, that is 64 points higher than what the benchmark opened on Monday.
The local market’s positive mood follows another record-breaking day on Wall Street. The S&P 500 and the Dow hit all-time highs on Thursday (local time).
Some of the winners this afternoon include BlueScope Steel (+3.6pc), vitamin giant Blackmores (+3.4pc) and BHP (+2.5pc).
Afterpay is continuing its rocky ride.
It has been up and down all week, and was rocked by news that US fintech PayPal is going to challenge it in Australia with another buy-now-pay-later option.
After losing 3.7 per cent on Thursday, Afterpay is now up again with a gain of 3 per cent.
After gaining 8.7 per cent yesterday on news the federal government is subsidising cheap plane tickets, Flight Centre has lost some of its gain today, with a loss of 3.8 per cent on open.
Southern Cross plunges as its dumped by Nine
Nine Entertainment has announced it is dumping broadcaster Southern Cross Austereo in favour of its old affiliate WIN.
Nine, which also now owns the former Fairfax newspaper stable, used to be in a broadcasting affiliation with the regional television network, WIN, but dumped it in 2016 after disagreements about live streaming.
After five years with SCA, Nine told the ASX it would go back to WIN from July, and that this would boost Nine’s presence in regional television markets across Australia.
“This is the right time for us to return to WIN,” Nine’s chief executive Hugh Marks said.
In a note to staff, he also said some roles would be affected. Nine already shed some regional broadcaster jobs during COVID.
Nine’s stock is marginally up (+0.5pc) while Southern Cross is down 9.5 per cent on the news. WIN is not listed.
Meanwhile, Australian bottler Coca-Cola Amatil has told the ASX it got court approval to set a date for shareholders to vote on it being sold to its European counterpart.
The date for the sell-off vote is April 16.
CCA’s shareprice is up 0.2 per cent.
Dollar close to 80 US cents
As US investors feel less concerned about rising inflation, its dollar continued to drop for the third day in a row.
Figures show lower-than-expected inflation in the US helped stabilise Treasury yields and lift world equities markets to their highest in more than a week.
Early on Friday morning, the Australian dollar was up 0.7 per cent against the greenback, pushing it within reach of 78 US cents.
ANZ analysts said the local currency was trading higher against the US dollar because the greenback was simply weaker.
“Higher iron ore prices after a period of weakness likely added to AUD support,” they said.
“Iron ore prices fell recently after the steel?producing hub of Tangshan in China announced they ‘will initiate Level II emergency response to heavy pollution weather’.
“In our view, commodity prices [including iron ore] will remain elevated this year and can support a move in AUD above 0.80.
“However, carbon border adjustment fees are a growing downside risk to AUD over the medium term.”
Apart from the inflation data, there were several other positive notes for investors this week in the US, including lower than expected claims for unemployment welfare and the signing of US President Joe Biden’s stimulus bill.
The Dow Jones and S&P 500 both hit new highs several times this week.
Some analysts cannot pin these latest records on anything in particular.
“There is no blindingly obvious catalyst for this latest run-up,” NAB analysts said.
“Approval of the Biden administration’s $US1.9 trillion COVID relief plan (about to be signed into laws) was surely a long way to being discounted after the Senate approved a version of it last weekend.
Big names like Apple, Tesla and Facebook all made gains of up to 4 per cent, after the tech-heavy Nasdaq recouped losses too.
Dating app boosted by pandemic
On the US markets, the dating app Bumble jumped 20 per cent.
The app said it was forecasting a rise in user demand as people who had missed social interaction during the pandemic sought out romance and even friendship via its digital dating platform.
The company said it would build its friendship product Bumble BFF beyond its minimum viable offering, as it expected friendships and platonic relationships at large to be a massive opportunity going forward.
Bumble has more than 12 per cent of the dating market in the US and a chunk of the Australian market too.
It differentiates itself from competitors such as Tinder and Hinge by requiring women to make the first move.