Just like Mark Wahlberg in The Italian Job, it appears markets are confident of triumphing in the end, with not too many concerns about the chances of Italy “doing a Greece’’ and stealing confidence from investors.
After a renaissance of interest in Italy’s equally dire political stalemate and debt issues sent markets sharply lower earlier in the week, yesterday’s firmer trade seems to show that the risks of Italy leaving the EU and the Euro after fresh elections is less likely than some worried pundits initially thought.
Another big factor that the market seemed to take in its stride is the threat posed by US President Donald Trump’s decision to impose previously announced tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from strong allies such as Canada, Mexico and the EU nations.
The ASX 200 closed a whisker below the 6000 mark at 5995 points after recovering from the effects of the Italian Job and the Trump tariff tantrum, which nevertheless still marks a 0.7 per cent fall for the week and the third straight week of declines.
Rio Tinto was hit particularly hard over concerns that the miner’s Canadian operations may be hurt by the tariffs, closing down 0.6 per cent to $82.50.
ANZ Bank shares were off 1.5 per cent to $26.80 following news the lender is facing criminal charges by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions over alleged cartel conduct related to a $2.5 billion share placement in 2015.
If there was a bright spot it was healthcare stocks which were markedly higher with a rise of 0.6 per cent on Friday as Cochlear jumped 3.7 per cent to an all-time high of $203.31.