ASX at six-month high on US-China optimism

Derek Rose
(Australian Associated Press)


The Australian share market has hit a six-month high, amid positive signs for the local economy and optimism on US-China trade talks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 42.6 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 6,285 points at 1615 AEDT on Wednesday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 40.9 points, or 0.65 per cent, to 6,368.7.

The local bourse has now risen for seven straight days and is at its best level since early September, with a number of companies setting all-time or multi-year share-price highs on Wednesday.

CommSec market analyst James Tao said indications that the US-China trade talks would finally reach a conclusion was more likely a cause of the rally than the tax cuts and other stimulus measures revealed in Canberra on Tuesday night.

“As much as the government might like the budget to influence the markets, it probably doesn’t have that much influence on Aussie shares,” Mr Tao said.

Every sector was up aside from energy shares, with miners the biggest gainers, up a collective 1.67 per cent.

BHP rose 2.25 per cent to $39.91, its highest level since 2011.

Both Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals reached their highest levels since 2008, meanwhile, with Rio gaining 1.92 per cent to $100.32 and Fortescue up 1.83 per cent to $7.79.

Among consumer discretionary stocks, both lottery website operator Jumbo Interactive and kitchen appliance company Breville Group hit all-time highs, with Jumbo up 6.03 per cent to $16, and Breville gaining 4.28 per cent to $17.53.

Domain Group rocketed 8.18 per cent higher to $2.91, a six-month high.

Machine learning dataset company Appen was up 3.68 per cent to $23.65 after it announced it had completed its acquisition of rival Figure Eight Technologies for around $400 million.

Remote identity verification and payment authentication company ISignthis was up 12.28 per cent to 32 cents after it said it had 13 new merchants live on its network, and its daily payment processing volume was growing slightly ahead of expectations.

CSL rose 1.07 per cent to $202.36, a six-month high.

The big four banks had a more subdued day, with NAB and ANZ down, 0.24 and 0.11 per cent, respectively, while Westpac rose 0.11 per cent and Commonwealth Bank gained 0.01 per cent.

Spark New Zealand dropped 3.87 per cent to $3.48 after it announced that managing director Simon Moutter was resigning effective June 30. Customer director Jolie Hodson will replace him.

The Aussie dollar rose after the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that retail spending rose 0.8 per cent in February, beating the consensus forecast of 0.3 per cent.

The Aussie dollar is buying 71.07 US cents, from 70.85 US cents on Tuesday.

The ABS also announced that Australia’s trade surplus increased to a record $4.8 billion in February, beating estimates.

“A bit of good news to come through today … It does give us a little bit more reassurance, but it doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet,” Mr Tao said of the economic indicators, noting that there are still fears about house prices.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 42.6 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 6,285 points at 1630 AEDT on Wednesday.

* The All Ordinaries was up 40.9 points, or 0.65 per cent, to 6,368.7.

* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was up 36 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 6,269.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 71.07 US cents, from 70.85 US on Tuesday

* 79.17 Japanese yen, from 78.86

* 63.33 euro cents, from 63.21

* 54.10 British pence, from 54.20

* 104.82 NZ cents, from 104.46


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