Market update; ASX finishes 2.6% higher

Daily Market Update (10)
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Rollercoaster continues, ASX finishes 2.6% higher, Budget night ahead, US rallies 1.6%

The ASX 200 (ASX:XJO) delivered its strongest day in four months, adding 2.6% despite the public holiday in NSW and much lower volume as a result.

The positive news was threefold; the Government announced that tax cuts would be brought forward and back dated to 1 July 2020; they also flagged further infrastructure stimulus; and finally, news emerged that President Trump’s health was on the improve.

Such is the lack of investment news flow that the health of the US President who is currently expected to lose has been enough to turn sentiment. The biggest beneficiaries were he energy sector, up 4.5%, with Oil Search Ltd (ASX:OSH) jumping 7.5% after oil futures rallied on hopes of more US fiscal stimulus.

Viva Energy Group Ltd (ASX:VEA) fell 12.1% after going ex-dividend, one of only nine stocks that finished lower.

Oil remains a highly leveraged play on a ‘COVID-normal’ global economy. In my view, when balanced with the growing second wave in Europe it’s a little too much risk to bear at the present time.

Business confidence improves, QBE faces more court action, building supplies stronger

With a busy day ahead, starting with the RBA’s interest rate decision and the Federal Budget to be delivered tonight, the building supplies and infrastructure sector offer a leading indicator of where the money will flow.

Fletcher Building Ltd (ASX:FBU) added 5.2% and Boral Ltd (ASX:BLD) 2.4% as the economic recovery hopes are pinned on infrastructure and housing construction.

Whilst a reasonable start, there is an incredible amount of pain throughout small and large businesses exposed to any part of the travel, education or retail sectors.

Without targeted stimulus beyond the construction sector any economic recovery is likely to be slower than expected.

The NAB Business confidence index improved, from -8 to -4, the only sector still lacking confidence being financial and property services; National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX:NAB) rallied 4.0%.

Finally, QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX:QBE) remains mired in court action across the global, it was reported that bankrupt US retailer Century 21 is challenging QBE’s decision not to pay out on its business interruption insurance.

Trump to leave hospital, US markets rally, Air BNB to IPO

Global markets followed the Australian lead, the Nasdaq adding 2.3%, and the S&P 500 1.8% at the time of writing.

The rally came following news that President Trump was recovering well and set to leave the hospital following treatment.

Despite the hospital stay, the President was able to place additional pressure on Congress to deliver a much-needed stimulus package, which supported the energy, technology and healthcare sectors.

In a sign of the desperation for new ideas, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN) rallied 8.0%, leading the Nasdaq, after it was reported that the President was being treated with an experimental drug produced by the company.

Air BNB is set to overcome and incredibly difficult year to listed on the stock market in December. The company is looking to raise $3 billion after sacking 2,000 staff amid the worst of the crisis.

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