After plunging more than 1% on Friday, the ASX 200 rallied in the final minutes of trading today to close 0.42% higher.

Retailers were the winners, with the Discretionary sector up by 1.8%.  The Energy sector was also up more than 1% as oil prices climbed 2% in New York on Friday.

Mining and Real Estate stocks meanwhile were the losing sectors today.

Concerns over spiralling inflation in the US were somewhat offset by the stronger than expected GDP figures coming out of China today.

The Chinese economy grew by 4% in the fourth quarter compared to the same period last year, well clear of the 3.6% estimate.

ASX Tech stocks meanwhile followed Nasdaq’s lead and were up more than 0.5%, despite growing concerns the US Fed may start lifting rates by as early as March.

BIG CAP WINNERS

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Retail giant Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) gained after reporting a preliminary net profit of between $1.18 billion and $1.24 billion for the six months ended December 31.

The group’s performance for the half was supported by pleasing results in Bunnings and its chemicals business, it said, while results in Kmart Group and Officeworks were impacted by COVID-related disruptions.

The company has also issued a warning over the increasing cases of Omicron, which it says will affect customer traffic to its stores.

Construction giant, Adbri (ASX:ADB),  was up around 7% after subsidiary Cockburn Cement reached an agreement with Alcoa for the supply of quicklime until 31 January 2023.

As part of the variation to the existing agreement, Cockburn has agreed to supply a minimum and maximum volume of quicklime to Alcoa. While the specific terms remain confidential, the minimum revenue contribution is expected to be approximately $25m, and the maximum is $35m.

MA Financial (ASX:MAF) has upgraded its earnings guidance as a result of increased valuations for some of its Redcape Hospitality assets.

The company’s FY21 underlying EPS growth is now expected to exceed 50% on FY20, up from >40% previously announced.

Financial company Pendal Group (ASX:PDL) was also up after announcing the appointment of Deborah Page as the new Chairman.

Page has extensive experience as a company director and chair across a range of sectors, including funds management, insurance and technology.

BIG CAP LOSERS

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