Without having reached phase two trials, Moderna’s vaccine candidate still managed to spur buying from Wall Street to the ASX where miners led a 99-point rally.

Travel stocks were at the front of the more than 3 per cent rally on Wall Street and the ASX was no different on Tuesday, as Qantas advanced 3.6 per cent to $3.50. Flight Centre added 2.8 per cent to $10.58, Helloworld rose 4 per cent to $1.44, and Sydney Airport firmed 2 per cent to $5.60.
Improving commodity prices except for gold helped the resources sector to strong gains for a second day as iron ore hit the $US96-a-tonne mark, up 3 per cent. Fortescue Metals Group smashed Monday’s record high, rising 4.4 per cent to $13.87. BHP Group stock increased 5.6 per cent to $35.05 and Rio Tinto 4.7 per cent to $94.52.
Brent crude rose more than 9 per cent to $US35.55 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate climbed more than 11 per cent to $US32.89 a barrel in the US session. Woodside Petroleum rose 4.2 per cent to $22.59, Santos gained 4.7 per cent to $5.10, and Oil Search climbed 7.3 per cent to $3.22; engineering group Worley surged 9.6 per cent to $9.11.
The owner of Westfield malls around the world, Unibail-Rodamco, rallied 11.4 per cent to $4.09. It has 55 flagship shopping centres over France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, the US and UK, among other regions.
James Hardie soared 11.2 per cent to $23.82 after the building materials group issued a better-than-expected, fourth-quarter result. James Hardie boss Jack Truong also said the economic recovery “will be more like a Nike swoosh” than a V-shape or U-shape.
The big four banks benefited from payrolls data showing Australia’s economy may already be past the worst of the unemployment blow. From April 18 to May 2, weekly payrolls rose 0.9 per cent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said, although the total picture is still negative since the pandemic began. Since March 14, payrolls have fallen 7.3 per cent.
“It does appear that April was the low point for payrolls and they have stabilised, and improved, from there. The question remains, will this continue through May?” asked Westpac economist Justin Smirk. Over the second half of April, payrolls lifted for all the COVID-19-hit sectors: arts and recreation (5.1 per cent), accommodation and food services (2.8 per cent), transport (1.9 per cent) and retail (1.8 per cent), Westpac said.
Consumer confidence rose 2.2 per cent last week, according to the weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan survey, lifting the index to 92.3 points.
Westpac added 2.2 per cent to $15.23, National Australia Bank 2.1 per cent to $15.49, ANZ Banking Group 2 per cent to $15.44 and Commonwealth Bank 1.3 per cent to $59.65.
Shares of foreign exchange provider OFX Group dropped 5.9 per cent to $1.28. OFX reported a 4.5 per cent rise in underlying net profit to $21.4 million for 2019-20 but declined to target positive operational leverage (higher revenue than expenses) in 2021. “The degree of economic uncertainty means predicting revenue is impossible,” chief executive Skander Malcolm said.
The US Court of Appeal has thrown out Cochlear’s petition to appeal the verdict that it pay the Alfred Mann Foundation and Advanced Bionics $US268 million ($418 million) in compensation for a historic patent infringement. The stock fell 3 per cent to $183.34.
Media stocks recovered, led by oOh!media’s 8.6 per cent rise to $1.14. Nine, publisher of The Australian Financial Review, added 4.4 per cent to $1.44.
News Corp climbed 1.9 per cent to $17.21. The market is pricing News Corp’s traditional media assets at half of what broker UBS thinks they are really worth. News’ “stub” assets have a $7.90-a-share valuation, UBS says, but adjusting for the stock’s interests in REA Group, the share price implies they are worth only between $2.47 and $3.91 a share.