Markets Live, Friday February 25, 2022

The Australian sharemarket managed to finish Friday in green territory as investors adjusted to news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which yesterday wiped more than $70 billion off the benchmark index.

The ASX200 finished Friday up 0.1 per cent or 7.2 points to 6997.8 points.

The small gains were led predominantly by the tech sector, which finished up 8.14 per cent, while financial and consumer staple stocks weighed on the index.

The flat end to the week comes after days of see-sawing and volatility as investors responded to the then-escalating Russia-Ukraine conflict as well as a raft of corporate half-year results.

Saxo Bank Australia market strategist Jessica Amir said the slight uptick was nothing more than a dead cat’s bounce.

“Today’s very short rally is short-lived,” she said. “Markets are bunkering down, preparing for further pullbacks. We are very, very cautious.”

Ms Amir warned the tech sector’s strong performance on Friday was only temporary, pointing out that the tech sector was down 30 per cent across a year.

“It’s not time to buy the dip – we are seeing further downside. I’m seeing people lose lots of money. I would like to reiterate, don’t get excited by short-term rallies in tech stocks.”

The tech sector’s gains were largely driven by Afterpay owner block, which was the ASX200’s best performer of the day after unveiling results that beat analysts’ expectations. Its share price climbed 32.5 per cent over Friday’s session.

Block’s strong performance lifted sentiment across the overall tech sector, but Ms Amir said investors were generally moving their stocks into defensive assets, such as gold. “Commodities are king, and that includes oil,” she said. “Safe havens are likely to do well from here on in; this has been happening since November.”

Friday’s second-best performer was Life360, which recovered 22 per cent after plummeting 28.8 per cent the day before. Paladin Energy, Tyro Payments and Liontown Resources also saw double-digit share price growth.

On the other hand, Blackmores lost 10.5 per cent of its share price, followed by fund manager Magellan, down 10.1 per cent after it revealed its total funds under management dropped by nearly $10 billion in two weeks.

Ms Amir said there would be further volatility in equity markets over the next few weeks and months amid uncertainty created by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“If you do want to make some profits to offset losses .. it would be silly not to have exposure to commodity markets and commodity stocks,” she said.

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