ASX surges on renewed US-China trade hopes – 16:30 AEST Wed 19 June

Derek Rose
(Australian Associated Press)

 

The Australian share market has surged by more than a percentage point to hit another 11-year high amid indications Chinese-US trade tensions could be easing.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished up 78.1 points, or 1.19 per cent, to 6,648.1 points at 1615 AEST on Wednesday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 80.6 points, or 1.21 per cent, to 6,728.5.

The ASX200 is up 3.8 per cent on the month so far, with June set to be its sixth consecutive month of gains, said CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian.

Since hitting a two-year low on Christmas Eve the index has gained 21 per cent.

The latest surge in investor confidence is underpinned by signs US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could revive stalled trade talks, with Trump saying he’ll definitely meet with Xi at the G20 summit next week.

Also, iron ore and oil prices surged between three and a half, to four per cent overnight, boosting commodities stocks, Mr Daghlian said.

All sectors were higher save the defensive plays of property trusts and gold miners.

Consumer staples led gains, up 1.6 per cent, with Coles up 4.3 per cent to $13.78 following its announcement on Tuesday it would seek to cut costs by $1 billion over four years.

Mining stocks gained 1.5 per cent as a whole, with BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals all hitting fresh multi-year highs.

BHP was up two per cent to $40.98, Rio Tinto gained 1.9 per cent to $105.71 and Fortescue Metals was up 2.8 per cent to $8.76.

The big banks were all up, with Commonwealth gaining one per cent to $82.30, ANZ up 1.4 per cent to $28.67, Westpac up 0.9 per cent to $28.33 and NAB up 0.4 per cent to $26.83.

Other blue-chip stocks posting strong gains included Macquarie Group, up 1.7 per cent to $125.38; CSL, up 1.4 per cent to $218.15; Woodside Petroleum, up 2.3 per cent to $35.90; and Telstra, up 0.8 per cent to $3.84.

In the tech sector, Wisetech Global gained 4.4 per cent to $28.72, and Afterpay was up 3.7 per cent to $22.06.

Melbourne cloud communications software-as-a-service firm Whispir commenced trading under the symbol WSP, closing at $1.59, a cent down from its initial public offering price.

Bluescope Steel bounced back from its losses on Monday and Tuesday, closing at $11.73, up 6.5 per cent, making it the best-performing stock among the ASX200.

But shares in lithium miner Pilbara Minerals continued to fall following Monday’s announcement it was slowing production, falling to an ASX200-worst 8.4 per cent to close at 54.5 cents.

The Aussie dollar is buying 68.76 US cents, from 68.39 US cents on Tuesday.

Looking forward, currency traders will be watching the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting on Thursday, with word expected out around 0400 AEST on whether the Federal Reserve officials will cut interest rates or – as expected – hint at a rate cut for July.

Then at 1235 AEST, Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe will give a speech on the Australian labour market, which also may affect the currency market.

“You can expect an interesting ride for the Aussie,” Mr Daghlian said.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 78.1 points, or 1.19 per cent, to 6,648.1 points at 1630 AEST on Wednesday.

* The All Ordinaries was up 80.6 points, or 1.21 per cent, to 6,728.5.

* At 1630 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was up 80 points, or 1.22 per cent, to 6,655.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 68.76 US cents, from 68.39 US cents on Tuesday

* 74.43 Japanese yen, from 74.05 yen

* 61.42 euro cents, from 60.87 cents

* 54.78 British pence, from 54.54 pence

* 105.31 NZ cents, from 105.25 cents

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