Hopes that the new Omicron strain will have a less-pronounced impact on travel and consumer confidence have bolstered stocks this week.

Scientists and vaccine makers are still assessing the severity of Omicron and how well existing vaccines may work against it.

Global oil prices jumped over 3% on optimism that the variant may not be as severe as feared, easing concern over the crude demand outlook. Energy stocks rose 1.8% while the financial sector was up 1.15% and health stocks rose 1.53%.

The materials sector (big miners) led the gains, climbing by 2.23% with tech stocks close on its heels, up 2.16%. BHP (ASX:BHP) Fortescue (ASX:FMG), Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and South32 (ASX:S32) were all in the green.

 

BIG CAP WINNERS 

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APM Human Services (ASX:APM) was top of the leader board, with an intraday gain of 15% on no news.

It was followed by BNPL player Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) up 11%, and Melbourne-based biotech Mesoblast (ASX:MSB).

Up 9% was lifestyle app company Life360 (ASX:360), along with Serko (ASX:SKO).

 

BIG CAP LOSERS 

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Kiwi energy player Mercury NZ (ASX:MCY) and insurance broker Steadfast Group (ASX:SDF) were tied, down 4% on no news.

All down 3% on no news was AngloGold Ashanti (ASX:AGG), Polynovo (ASX:PNV), PPK Group (ASX:PPK), Vista Group (ASX:VGL) and Tuas Limited (ASX:TUA).