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Australian shares rebound as financials gain, James Hardie sinks

01/06/2022 | 07:24pm EDT

Jan 7 (Reuters) - Australian shares rebounded on Friday from a tech-led selloff in the previous session, as banking gains led the climb, while fibre cement maker James Hardie's shares dropped after it ousted CEO Jack Truong for breaching code of conduct.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 1.5% at 7,468.3 by 0017 GMT. The benchmark had settled 2.7% lower on Thursday, its worst session in sixteen months.

James Hardie on Friday fired Truong and said his work-related interactions over the last several months with a group of 30-50 employees "extensively and materially breached" the company's code of conduct.

Shares of the world's largest fibre cement maker dropped as much as 10.8%, and were set for their worst session since March 2020.

Heavyweight financials jumped as much as 2.2% to notch their biggest intraday jump since October last year, propelled by the "Big Four" banks.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp, and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group added between 1.6% and 2.2%.

Technology stocks, which fell 6.4% on Thursday in its worst session since March 2020, rose 1.3%.

Buy now, pay later bellwether Afterpay rose as much as 2.9% in its biggest intraday jump since Dec. 22, 2021, while Tyro Payments jumped 1.9%.

Energy stocks added as much as 2.2%, as oil prices gained overnight on escalating unrest in OPEC+ oil producer Kazakhstan and supply outages in Libya.

Major oil and gas explorers Santos Ltd and Woodside Petroleum gained 1.8% and 2.1%, respectively.

Australian Pharmaceutical Industries fell 12.4%, while Woolworths Group and Wesfarmers rose 0.4% and 1.6%, respectively.

Australian Pharmaceutical Industries said Wesfarmers Ltd would buy it for A$763.6 million ($546.9 million) after Woolworths pulled out of a race to acquire the country's top drugstore chain.

Strong iron ore prices lifted miners by 1.2%, while healthcare stocks rose 1.3%.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was flat at 12,988.51 points. (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

© Reuters 2022
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AFTERPAY -2.18% 66.47 End-of-day quote.-19.93%
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA 1.14% 106.63 Delayed Quote.5.57%
JAMES HARDIE INDUSTRIES PLC 0.45% 35.95 Delayed Quote.-34.99%
LONDON BRENT OIL 1.52% 119.2 Delayed Quote.50.58%
S&P/ASX 200 1.08% 7182.7 Real-time Quote.-3.52%
SANTOS LIMITED 1.10% 8.24 Delayed Quote.30.59%
TYRO PAYMENTS LIMITED -0.96% 1.03 Delayed Quote.-63.99%
WESFARMERS LIMITED 1.63% 46.73 Delayed Quote.-21.20%
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION 0.79% 24.09 Delayed Quote.12.83%
WOODSIDE ENERGY GROUP LTD 3.57% 30.14 Delayed Quote.37.44%
WTI 0.94% 115.083 Delayed Quote.51.34%
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