(Australian Associated Press)
Rising commodity and energy prices have powered mining and energy stocks and lifted the Australian share market to its highest level since May.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 42.8 points, or 0.73 per cent, to 5,889.6 points on Tuesday – as almost every sector posted strong gains.
Supported by rising oil and commodity prices, a strong steel outlook and positive Chinese data, the ASX has broken out of a five-month hiatus, Macquarie Wealth Management divisional director Martin Lakos said.
“We have gone through a 20-week consolidation period, almost unprecedented in its lack of momentum and now we’ve broken out, so it is pretty good news,” Mr Lakos said.
With iron ore continuing its run, shares in major miners gained ground, with Rio Tinto up 91 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $71.46, BHP Billiton ahead 36 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $27.31 and Fortescue Metals up two cents to $4.96.
Rio Tinto also reported its shipments for the September quarter were up six per cent from a year ago, helped by improved rail capacity and increasing Chinese demand.
The energy sector posted gains as tensions rose in the Middle East, with crude prices up around one per cent overnight after Iraqi Kurdistan briefly shut down production.
The shutdown came as Iraqi forces entered the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, following the Kurdish vote for independence in a September referendum.
Santos, Woodside Petroleum and Origin were up one per cent, 0.6 per cent and 0.5 per cent, respectively.
New Guinea focused Oil Search was ahead three cents, or 0.4 per cent at $7.24, despite also lifting its September quarter production to 7.91 million barrels of oil equivalent, a nine per cent gain from the preceding three months
The financial sector was up 0.8 per cent, with the Commonwealth Bank leading gains, up $1.05, or 1.4 per cent, to $78.25.
Shares in ANZ were also up 0.6 per cent at $30.34 after the lender announced the sale of its superannuation and financial planning businesses to IOOF Holdings for $975 million.
Funds manager Challenger gained 5.4 per cent, at $13.19 after reporting an increase in assets under management, up five per cent for the September quarter to $73.5 billion.
Qantas shares rose 2.9 per cent to $6.43 as the airline unveiled the first of its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
The Australian dollar retreated during the local session, dropping briefly after the 1130 AEDT release of the minutes of the Reserve Bank’s October rates meeting before rising in the afternoon session.
The Australian dollar finished the local session at 78.46 US cents, down from 78.74 US cents on Monday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 42.8 points, or 0.73 per cent, at 5,889.6 points.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 40.9 points, or 0.69 per cent, at 5,958.1 points.
* The SPI200 futures contract was up 42 points, or 0.72 per cent, at 5,870 points.
* National turnover was 4.2 billion securities traded worth $5.4 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT ON TUESDAY
* 78.46 US cents, from 78.74 US cents on Monday
* 88.0235 Japanese yen, from 88.12 yen
* 66.67 euro cents, from 66.76 euro cents
* 59.21 British pence, from 59.28 pence
* 109.47 NZ cents, from 109.74 NZ cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,291.66 per fine ounce, from $US1302.27 per fine ounce on Monday
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.9864pct, from 1.9746pct on Monday
* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.7161pct, from 2.6996pct
SYDNEY FUTURES EXCHANGE PRICES:
* December 2017 10-year bond futures contract was at 97.21 (implying a yield of 2.79pct), from 97.195 (2.805pct) on Monday
* December 2017 3-year bond futures contract was at 97.87 (2.13pct), from 97.87 (2.13pct)
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)