In afternoon trade Australian shares have fallen slightly, but are still trading near their positive pre-COVID levels.
Markets have primarily put aside attention about more deadly COVID-19 strains and different attempts to challenge Donald Trump in the last days of his administration.
The benchmark ASX 200 had fallen (-0.6pc) to 6,719 points, by 1:30pm AEDT. Despite the accelerating extinction, the Australian market is yet around where it was in late-February, before the large COVID-19 sell-off. The broader All Ordinaries index was also falling by a similar edge to 6,981 points, even near its maximum level in 10 months.
The Australian dollar was slightly lower (-0.8pc) at 76.99 US cents because of a stronger US greenback. The local currency was on 78.2 US cents last week, its firmest level after April 2018.
ANZ’s head of Australian economics David Plank said, “The US dollar was supported with growing calls for stimulus driving relative yields (US Treasury bonds for long-term) higher.” But he said, “The scope for the Australian dollar remains accurate as falling volatility and stimulus expectations support the risk trade.”
According to figures from Coindesk, on Saturday bitcoin surged to a fresh record high ($US41,962). Yet it has since plunged (-13pc) $US37,531 just another day for the volatile cryptocurrency.
ONLINE RETAIL SALE
In November, Australian consumers spent $31.65 billion, as the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) led to the domestic economy’s continuing recovery.
Since the previous month, retail sales jumped (+7.1pc), and were significantly higher (+13.3pc) than a year ago. COVID-19 has changed the shopping habits of Australians. In November 2020 online sales made up 11 per cent of all retail turnovers, last year. It was a huge jump compared to November 2019, at 7.2 per cent of retail sales were managed online.
On the ASX Energy stocks were the best performers, comprising Woodside Petroleum (+4.8pc), Whitehaven Coal (+4.3pc), Origin Energy (+2pc), and Santos (+4.1pc). The price of oil has jumped to $US55.77 per barrel, its maximum value since February, last year.