Markets were calm and collected on Thursday, as the ASX 200 climbed by more than 1% following a strong lead from Wall Street, and traded with little volatility throughout the session.

Investors are still comfortable with the US Fed’s plans to commence the wind-back of its post-COVID stimulus measures.

Shares in Evergrande were more than 10% higher on the Hang Seng exchange in Hong Kong, as fears subside that the property’s developer’s debt issues will become a contagion event.

In that environment, the ASX 200 Energy index chalked up an intraday gain of almost 3% Brent crude oil prices push back towards US$80/barrel.

The Information Technology index also moved higher as Afterpay (ASX:APT) climbed back above $130.

There were steady gains for the big banks, with more modest increases for the major miners after iron ore prices moved higher overnight.

BIG CAP WINNERS

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Among the large cap winners was media conglomerate News Corp (ASX:NWS), which also trades on the US Nasdaq, and overnight announced that its board had approved a US$1bn share buyback program.

Lithium battery producer Novonix (ASX:NVX) was recently admitted to the ASX 300 courtesy, having nearly tripled in value in FY22 to-date.

With a close above $6.50, shares in NVX have now risen by more than 3,000% since March last year.

Staying on the topic of lithium small caps that became large caps, WA-based explorer Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) also posted another day of strong gains, and has now risen by more than 2,000% since March 2020.

A travel thematic was also in play on today’s winner’s list, as both Webjet (ASX:WEB) and Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) rose by more than 5%.

And with coal prices recently hitting 12-year highs, $2.8bn Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) hit new 2021 highs today and has now almost tripled from its May lows.

BIG CAP LOSERS

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Leading the large cap laggards was biotech stock Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX), which announced US health regulators have extended the review period for TLX’s new drug application for Illuccix, its investigational imaging product for prostate cancer.