Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Westpac and ANZ recovered from a weak start to drag the market higher, while energy stocks resumed their rollicking rally on the back of improved oil prices.
BHP and Fortescue Metals also gained ground, but the market’s advance was halted by a number of blue-chip heavyweights.
Supermarkets Coles and Woolworths sagged, Transurban slipped, Wesfarmers lost ground and the tech sector extended its decline to a third session. Big miner Rio Tinto finished 0.6 per cent lower at $120.74.
Mr Daghlian noted investors were most likely focused on the political events in Washington amid a January news vacuum.
In a largely symbolic act, the US House of Representatives voted to demand that Vice-President Mike Pence use the Constitution’s 25th amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office.
The non-binding resolution precedes a vote in the coming days to impeach the president for a second time.
“After a relatively busy first week of the year, the focus in recent days has been more on the political side of things, just seven days out from Biden being sworn in,” Mr Daghlian said.
“People are questioning whether there are going to be protests and the like but I think the markets have mostly overlooked this as a bit of noise and disruption.”
Biotech CSL drooped 0.7 per cent on Wednesday to close at $271.04, despite insisting its timeline for the production of 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine remained unchanged.
Scientists had called for the planned rollout of the product in Australia to be paused because it was not yet known if it was effective enough to ensure herd immunity.
Improved commodities prices boosted the materials sector, especially gold miners, while the $35.5 billion Telstra gained 2.7 per cent to close at $3.09.
Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments was the market’s best performer with a 12.7 per cent rise to $25.35 on the back of a solid trading update.
A number of other discretionary retailers finished ahead, including Harvey Norman, Bapcor, Kogan, Super Retail Group and JB Hi-Fi.