Australian shares close at 8-week high

Jason Cadden
(Australian Associated Press)


The Australian share market has closed at an eight-week high, thanks to growing optimism about the US-China trade negotiations and the continued surge in oil prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 55.9 points, or 0.98 per cent, to 5,778.3 at 1615 AEDT on Wednesday.

The broader All Ordinaries was up 55.1 points, or 0.95 per cent, at 5,838.4.

Share markets throughout the Asia-Pacific are buoyant on hopes the United States and China will strike a deal to end a trade war.

The Australian market also got a boost from energy stocks with the sector up 1.94 per cent, after oil prices rose 2.5 per cent in offshore trade.

Oil Search was up 2.6 per cent, Woodside Petroleum up 2.25 per cent, while Santos, Origin, and Soul Pattinson recorded gains of more than one per cent by the close of trade.

Pepperstone Group head of research Chris Weston says the energy sector is where investors want to be if they want to outperform the market.

“The Saudi’s have done a remarkable job in balancing the market, or trying to stabilise the market by cutting back on exports and they”re likely to do it again through January,” he said.

Share price gains have been broad based, which Mr Weston said was due to recent fears about the global economy easing somewhat, especially in US-China relations.

“Donald Trump came out today and said he wants to see a deal because he knows it will support markets,” he said

The tech sector was up thanks to a 4.25 per cent gain for Link, Afterpay Touch rose 3.2 per cent to $13.60, and Wisetech was up 2.95 per cent to $18.50.

Biotech CSL surged 2.73 per cent ahead to $195.10 while Cochlear gains almost three per cent and ResMed lifted 1.5 per cent.

Investment manager Magellan continued its rampant rise with a 10.29 per cent gain to $27.00.

The big banks were mostly higher with the ANZ the best performer, up 1.33 per cent to $25.19, but the Commonwealth Bank was the only one to fall, down 0.2 per cent at $72.33.

Among the other financials, Navigator Global plunged into the red, down 27.55 per cent to $3.05 after announcing an expected drop in assets under management.

BHP was down 0.38 per cent to $34.30, Rio Tinto was 0.9 per cent higher at $80.02, while South32 gained 0.3 per cent to $3.40.

The Aussie dollar is higher, buying 71.55 US cents, though gains were capped by a 9.1 per cent fall in new building approvals in November.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics says year on year approvals fell 32.8 per cent, adding to fears about the property market downturn.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 55.9 points, or 0.98 per cent, to 5,778.3

* The All Ordinaries was up 55.1 points, or 0.95 per cent, at 5,838.4

* At 1415 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was up 65 points, or 1.15 per cent, to 5728.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 71.55 US cents, from 71.29 on Tuesday

* 77.91 Japanese yen, from 77.67

* 62.43 euro cents, from 62.30

* 56.15 British pence, from 55.86

* 1.0591 NZ cents, from 1.0578


The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1615 AEDT was $US1,281.95 per fine ounce, from $US1,282.90 on Tuesday.


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Categories: Finance