(Australian Associated Press)
The Australian share market has climbed higher following a report that the Trump administration was set to delay the next round of US tariffs on China that are set to kick in on Sunday.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index surged in the final minutes of trading on Wednesday to finish up 45.7 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 6,752.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 41.1 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 6,853.2 points.
“Certainly a lot of green across the screen,” said Australian Stock Report senior advisor Ben Le Brun.
A report in the Wall Street Journal that US and Chinese negotiators were seeking to delay the tariffs as part of a bid to salvage a “phase one” trade agreement helped bolster sentiment.
“We’ve got to expect a little bit of volatility, if we don’t get some news that pleases the market” on trade, Mr Le Brun said.
CBA and CSL were the standouts on Wednesday, as the country’s biggest and second-biggest companies rose 1.4 per cent, to $80.31 and $282.15, respectively.
BHP – Australia’s largest company by market capitalisation when including its London-listed shares – was up 0.4 per cent to $38.60.
Other blue chips were in the spotlight as Telstra gained 1.6 per cent to $3.77, Transurban climbed 2.0 per cent to $15.36 and Westfarmers was up 0.7 per cent to $40.92.
Webjet gained 9.6 per cent to $12.78 on takeover speculation, although the travel company said it had not received any offer that was “compelling and certain”.
Among the other big banks, Westpac was up 0.7 per cent to $24.38, NAB gained 0.3 per cent to $25.10 and ANZ climbed 0.5 per cent to $24.53.
Insurer QBE was up 1.9 per cent to $12.64.
Elsewhere in the mining sector Rio Tinto gained 0.4 per cent to $99.10 and South32 rose 3.0 per cent to $2.79.
Junior miner FYI Resources gained 18.3 per cent after announcing its high purity alumina plant had exceeded expectations in a test run.
The utilities sector was the biggest gainer, up 1.7 per cent as APA Group rose 2.1 per cent, Meridian Energy climbed 2.8 per cent and Spark Infrastructure gained 2.4 per cent.
Tech shares and property trusts were the only of the ASX’s 11 sectors to fall, with tech down 0.8 per cent and real estate down 0.4 per cent.
In the tech sector, Xero dropped 1.0 per cent, Nearmap fell 3.7 per cent, Afterpay fell 1.4 per cent and WiseTech Global fell 1.7 per cent.
Three companies making their ASX debut all fell sharply, with Adobe rival Nitro Software dropping 11.6 per cent, WA recycling firm M8 Sustainable falling 15 per cent and ag-tech firm Terragen Holdings dropping 20 per cent.
The Aussie dollar is buying 68.18 US cents, from 68.26 US cents on Tuesday.
Looking ahead, traders on Thursday will be carefully watching a Federal Open Market Committee statement at for 0600 AEDT and and a press conference by US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell set for a half-hour later.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 45.7 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 6,752.6 points.
* The All Ordinaries closed up 41.1 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 6,853.2 points.
* The SPI200 futures index closed up 34 points, or 0.51 per cent, to 6,751.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT
One Australian dollar buys:
* 68.18 US cents, from 68.26 US cents on Tuesday
* 74.15 Japanese yen, from 74.14 yen
* 61.49 euro cents, from 61.68 cents
* 51.91 British pence, from 51.90 pence
* 104.44 NZ cents, from 104.00 cents.