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ASX recovers as US market futures show gains

Daily Market Update (80)

Omicron risk dissipates, commodities gain, energy takes OPEC+ hit 

Concerns that the Omicron-related sell off would look similar to March 2020 were sated on Monday, with the market recovering from a steep fall at the open to post a loss of just 0.5 per cent.

The biggest contributor was a more positive outlook from US markets, where futures tracked higher as investors seemed willing to wait on more data about the symptoms from the latest mutation.

The materials sector has continued its strong recent run, with BHP (ASX: BHP) gaining another 1.4 per cent and the sector up 0.7 per cent.

Technology was the other and only winner, gaining 0.7 per cent with Hub 24 (ASX: HUB) the standout, adding 4.8 per cent on little news.

Every other sector finished lower with the property and energy sectors both falling 1.4 per cent as the threat of restrictions concerned investors. 

Unibail Rodamco Westfield (ASX: URW) was the biggest detractor falling 6.2 per cent with Vicinity (ASX: VCX) not far behind, down 4.8 per cent.

Rural Funds Group (ASX: RFF) bucked the trend, adding 1 per cent, after announcing they had purchased another cattle farm for $69 million as their expansion continues.  

Energy sector uncertainty, Pact Group reports, Select hit with lower prices 

Shares in Senex Energy (ASX: SXY) fell another 0.3 per cent as management agreed to extend their exclusivity period with Posco International, a global acquirer.

The news comes as OPEC suggested they may be unlikely to increase oil output next year as they seek to combat the Omicron-induced fall in the oil price.

Shares in Pact Group (ASX: PGH) fell by over 12 per cent after the packaging and recycling group forecast a $5 million fall in earnings 2021.

They highlighted strong growth in their core businesses, but contract manufacturing had taken a significant hit due to Victorian lockdowns.

Select Harvest (ASX: SHV) overcame a major downgrade from the broking community to fall just 1.2 per cent on expectations that the all-important almond price in California.

The Port of Oakland reported an 18 per cent decline in exports due to growing supply chain issues.  

Twitter CEO steps down, markets recovery despite Omicron spread, Moderna jumps 

Global markets staged a swift rebound on Monday but with a decided quality tilt with the Nasdaq recouping 1.9 per cent of Friday’s losses.

Tesla (NYSE: TSLA) and Apple (NYSE: AAPL) led the gains up 5 and 2 per cent.

Both the Dow Jones and S&P500 also gained 1.3 and 1.9 per cent after the oil price jumped over 2 per cent on expectations that the Omicron variant may well be less serious than initially thought.

It is only early days, but the virus has now shown up in at least 12 countries with governments on high alert.

Shares in Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) were initially higher but faded during the session falling 2.8 per cent after founder and CEO Jack Dorsey announced his departure from the company as he turns his focus to Square Payments and Afterpay.

Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal will takeover the CEO role as the company seeks to pivot to new opportunities.

Shares of COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna (NYSE: MRNA) were over 11 per cent higher on expectations the company would be able to quickly deliver an Omicron booster shot. 

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