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Qantas reassures on 5G, energy companies flag solid earnings

airplane engine

The S&P/ASX 200 dropped by as much as 0.3% at the open after the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.96%, the S&P 500 was down 0.97%, and Nasdaq fell 1.15%, but the ASX rallied into the afternoon, closing up on Thursday, gaining 9.90 points or 0.14% to 7,342.40. Goldminers were the biggest gainers on the index after a rally in the gold price. US futures are gaining, indicating a positive start in the US on markets there.

Global equities have had a volatile start to the year, hurt by a more hawkish Fed stance, economic disruptions from the omicron virus strain and risks to company profits due to rising costs. Higher bond yields are forcing investors to rethink valuations across a range of assets. There's been a rush to gold that sees the precious metal resume its position as a safehaven asset, with the price jumping higher as demand increases.

The Australian is reporting that Qantas is satisfied it remains safe to fly to the US in Boeing 787s and A380s, amid a growing furore over potential interference with some aircraft from the 5G wireless network rollout. Shares closed 1% lower.

There has been  growing concern from the aviation industry over the past month about the disturbance 5G technology airwaves cause to vital aircraft radar altimeters used for landing, particularly in low visibility conditions.

The US Federal Aviation Administration had expressed concerns that problems with altimeters “could lead to loss of continued safe flight and landing”. It added it could also prevent engine and braking systems from moving to landing mode so they would not be able to stop on the runway.

Woodside Petroleum booked the highest quarterly sales revenue in its history in the December period as gas prices soared. Santos has delivered record annual production and sales revenue in 2021 with surging commodity prices giving a boost. Santos gained 1.3% and Woodside was 1.6% higher by the ASX close.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil came off slightly after touching a fresh seven-year high overnight, but was gaining to trade around $US86.30 by the afternoon. The International Energy Agency said in a report that the market looks tighter than previously thought. Brent crude is trading higher at around $US88.35 a barrel. Oil has rallied by about 30% since November.

Zip Co announced $167.4m in revenue for the December quarter, a record for the group driven by record levels of activity across the platform. Shares were 1.6% lower at the close.

The Aussie dollar is stronger against the US dollar at US72.29c.

Bitcoin remains under $US42,000, at $US41,750.

Gold is stronger at $US1839.35 an ounce.

Brent crude oil is up, trading around $US88.35 a barrel.

WTI crude oil is higher at $US86.30 a barrel.

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