Aust share market closes at 19-month high

Trevor Chappell
(Australian Associated Press)


The Australian share market has started 2017 positively, closing above 5,700 points for the first time since June 2015 as stocks across the board made gains.

Investors were buoyed by positive Chinese and Australian manufacturing data, and Atlantic Pacific Securities chief adviser Gary Huxtable said there was a lot of euphoria in the market.

“”It’s mainly just the lack of negativity out there,” he said.

“What that means is that with any signs of positivity, such as the PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) data out of China today which beat expectations, people just buy it.”

Mr Huxtable said gains were broad-based on Tuesday, with nearly all sectors in the green despite low volumes and the lack of any underlying theme.

“It’s obviously been a pleasing start to the year so far,” he said.

The China Caixin manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) released on Tuesday showed that manufacturing activity climbed in December to 51.9 from 50.9 in November – the fastest rate of improvement in three years. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Also, Australian factory activity picked up last month on the back of improving demand and recovering commodity prices.

The Australian Industry Group’s PMI rose 1.2 points to 55.4 in December.

The ASX200 closed at its highest level since June 1, 2015, making it the strongest start to a calendar year since 2013.

Among the major banks, the ANZ was the best performer after it agreed to sell a 20 per cent stake in Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank for $1.84 billion.

ANZ rose 52 cents, or 1.71 per cent, to $30.94. Commonwealth Bank lifted 0.68 per cent, Westpac added 1.07 per cent, and National Australia Bank gained 1.27 per cent.

In the resources sector, global miner BHP Billiton was up 1.6 per cent, and Rio Tinto lifted 1.8 per cent.

Oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum improved 1.25 per cent, while Santos and Oil Search were steady.

Among other stocks, Hills Ltd fell 3.5 cents, or 7.61 per cent, to 42.5 cents after it said it will no longer make and sell the Hills Hoist – although the iconic Aussie clothesline will live on under new ownership.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 67.4 points, or 1.19 per cent, at 5,733.2 points

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 65.5 points, or 1.15 per cent, at 5,784.6 points

* The March SPI200 futures contract was up 63 points at 5,694 points, with 23,638 contracts traded

* National turnover was 1.33 billion securities traded, worth $3.05 billion


One Australian dollar buys:

* 72.30 US cents, from 72.36 US cents on Friday

* 84.83 Japanese yen, from 84.46 yen

* 68.97 euro cents, from 68.73 euro cents

* 58.80 British pence, from 58.92 pence

* 103.80 New Zealand cents, from 103.94 NZ cents


The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,157.80 per fine ounce, down $US2.32 from $US1,160.12 at 1600 AEDT on Friday.


* CGS 5.25 per cent March 2019, 1.9015pct, down from 1.909pct on Friday.

* CGS 4.25pct April 2026, 2.6898pct, down from 2.697pct.

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.21 (implying a yield of 2.79pct), up from 97.20 (2.80pct) on Friday.

* March 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 97.96 (2.04pct), unchanged from 97.96 (2.04pct).

(*Currency closes taken at 1600 AEDT previous local session, bond market closes taken at 1600 AEDT previous local session)


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