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ASX highs as NSW-Victoria border restrictions drop and investors feel bullish

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The Australian stock market hits a nine-month high as the lifting of border restrictions between New South Wales and Victoria sparks renewed optimism.

The country’s two largest states were officially reunited after four months apart.

Qantas began the day of trading by announcing plans to increase passenger capacity and add more flights between Sydney and Melbourne.

The airline said its capacity will drop from 30% of pre-COVID levels to 40%.

Qantas said a further easing of restrictions among other states could see its domestic capacity increase by up to 60% by Christmas.

Qantas planes on the ground
Qantas has grounded planes during the pandemic, but is increasing the number of flights as restrictions ease.(Ryan Fletcher via Getty Images.)

As of 12:30 p.m., its shares were up 1.7% to $ 5.36.

It was its highest price since its shares collapsed to just $ 2.03 in March, when the federal government shut down the entire country and closed borders due to COVID-19.

The benchmark ASX index rose 0.5 percent to 6,572, its highest level since the March stops.

Affiliated airlines Sydney Airport Holdings and REX airlines both rose 1.6%.

Energy and tech stocks were trading on news of an easing of restrictions.

Resource companies BHP and Fortescue Metals jumped 3.7% and 5.6% respectively.

Iron ore futures also rose, as Chinese factories reported lower steel inventories.

Meanwhile, Village Roadshow jumped 16.7% after the theme park operator received a softened take-over bid from suitor BGH Capital.

However, a major insurance company takes a hit.

Today, shares of the Insurance Australia group fell 5.9% to $ 5.14.

The company was halted last Wednesday after a test case on COVID-19 payments by insurance companies returned a surprise result in favor of small businesses that have lost revenue due to lockdowns.

This result rocked the insurance industry and could mean insurers face hundreds of millions of dollars in additional payments.

IAG resumed operations today, after raising $ 650 million by issuing new shares in the market at a discount.

He sold 128.7 million new shares at a price of $ 5.05, a discount of 7.5% from the closing price of his share, before coming to a standstill.

ASX crash under investigation by company regulator

The corporate regulator has confirmed that it is investigating an outage that halted trade last week.

As of Monday, the ASX was only opened 24 minutes before its systems froze.

This meant that people could not buy or sell stocks for the whole day.

The outage came after the country’s stock operator updated its software and dealt an embarrassing blow to a platform that prides itself on sophisticated technology.

Corporate regulator ASIC has now announced it will investigate the outage.

In a statement, ASX said it would “cooperate fully”.

“ASX recognizes that this is appropriate given the regulatory oversight of ASIC,” he said.

ASX also confirmed that issues with its focal point have been resolved and that the platform, which allows investors to make anonymous trades, will be back operational on Tuesday.

ASX, which is itself a listed entity, is down 0.6% on news.

Wall Street closed lower on Friday

U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday as investors grappled with fiscal stimulus developments, concerns over a lengthy COVID-19 vaccine rollout and a growing number of closures there.

Tech companies in demand during lockdowns, such as the Zoom video conferencing platform and the Netflix streaming platform, have helped cut losses on the Nasdaq and stabilize it a bit more.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones posted marginal losses for the week.

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