The S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) rallied another 0.6% on Thursday with every industry sector gaining. The standout once again was the energy sector, adding 1.3% behind Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) which finished 2.5% higher after another 3% jump in the oil price.
Each of the financials and healthcare sectors also added 1.0% with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) once again holding above $100 per share.
Australian unemployment falls
The rally came despite a decidedly weak unemployment result. The headline figures showed a drop in unemployment from 4.6% to 4.5%, despite over 146,000 losing jobs during the period.
A fall in the participation rate, which suggests more people have given up looking for work, is a clear negative sign for the economy. Goldman Sachs economists suggest the real unemployment rate could be as high as 9.1% when another fall in hours worked is also included.
Australian Pharmaceutical share price spikes
Shares in Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ASX: API) finished 16.1% higher after Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) increased its bid for the company from $1.38 per share to $1.55.
The deal prices the pharmaceutical company at $764 million and has the support of API’s biggest shareholder Washington H Soul Pattinson & Co Ltd (ASX: SOL).
It marks another pivot for Wesfarmers, which is seeking to leverage its supply chain experience and build out a healthcare division.
Telstra ready for growth
The group is now seeking to deliver growth in the high teens, with a focus on its loyalty program, 5G and expended network coverage. Shareholders are clearly beginning to believe in Andy Penn with Telstra shares finishing 0.5% higher.
Myer share price goes nuts on FY21 result
Myer Holdings Ltd (ASX: MYR) shares rallied 16.7% despite management withholding the dividend once again. Profit was boosted by JobKeeper and rent waivers growing to $46 million, an improvement on a loss of $172 million in 2020.
In a positive sign, sales were 5.5% higher across the business, with the July half up 38% and online sales now representing 20% of the total.
Elsewhere, shares in Austal Limited (ASX: ASB) rallied 2.7% as the ship builder is seen as a potential beneficiary of the US/UK defence deal to deliver nuclear submarines, built in Australia.
ASX 200 today
The ASX 200 is tipped to take a backwards step when the market opens on Friday, following a mixed lead from US markets overnight.