But with tensions rising between Washington and Beijing, and key US jobs figures on the horizon, fresh money again proved hesitant. An uncertain earnings season outlook also heightened nerves.
“The market feels a little fatigued ahead of the profit season (next week),” Tribeca portfolio manager JunBei Liu said.”People want to see how bad things are, and what companies see going forwards.”
Ms Liu said the trickle of local corporate results so far had painted a mixed picture. Diversified financials such as AMP and IOOF had suffered, she said, as had medical device maker ResMed. However, investors were impressed with the likes of News Corp and REA Group.
“People are really waiting for the bank results,” Ms Liu said. “That’s a really good barometer for what the economy will look like.”
Further weighing on sentiment on Friday was a reminder from the Reserve Bank – via its Statement on Monetary Policy – that the economic recovery from the coronavirus will be a much slower, longer and fragile journey than previously hoped.
Elsewhere, Asian markets were rocked as tensions between Beijing and Washington escalated, with US President Donald Trump ordering sweeping bans on China’s ByteDance, owner of TikTok, and Tencent, operator of WeChat.
Nonetheless, the ASX still managed to finish ahead for the week, adding 1.3 per cent over the five sessions.
It was the first weekly gain in three.
Despite a further rise in gold and iron ore prices, the local materials sector gave up a sizeable chunk of its gains from Thursday’s session. BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals were all heavy losers as the sector plunged by 1.5 per cent.
Financials shed 0.4 per cent, with ANZ the only of the big four banks to add to its tally. It rose 0.2 per cent to $17.68. Westpac was flat at $16.76.
Health stocks were weighed down by the aforementioned ResMed, which dropped another 3.2 per cent to $25.06, and CSL, which fell by 1.3 per cent to $274.19.
Consumer discretionaries and property stocks were the only sectors to finish ahead.
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