Australian Shares Close Higher, Fall 1.6% Weekly

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Australian Shares Close Higher, Fall 1.6% Weekly
Credit: © Reuters.

By Oliver Gray - The S&P/ASX 200 added 37.1 points or 0.5% to 7406.6 on Friday, partially recovering losses of 1.9% in the previous session and closing the week 1.55% lower as concerns remain over the economic hit caused by the coronavirus Delta variant as the nation races toward its vaccination targets. 

New South Wales tallied a fresh record high of 1542 cases today as health authorities noted that case numbers are set to peak in the next week, while hospitalisation and intensive care needs are expected to peak in October. Meantime, Victoria reported a fresh record high of 334 cases after health authorities eased lockdown restrictions for regional Victoria yesterday. Meantime, the ACT reported 24 fresh cases.

Among stocks, Santos Ltd (ASX: STO ) added 0.5% and Oil Search Ltd (ASX: OSH ) lifted 2.19% after the companies finalized their A$21 billion merger earlier in the session. Santos noted that the merger will create a ‘regional champion of scale with a diversified portfolio of long-life and low-cost oil and gas assets.’ Meantime, mining heavyweights recovered following significant losses in the previous session with Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO ), BHP Billiton Ltd (ASX: BHP ) and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX: FMG ) adding 0.75%, 0.73% and 1.66% respectively, while Commonwealth Bank Of Australia (ASX: CBA ), National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB ) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC ) added 0.54%, 0.18% and 0.2% respectively.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 lost 31.38 points or 0.24% to 13064.39, falling 1.72% for the week and retreating from 8-month highs.

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