Banks, healthcare lift market as miners reverse gains
Banking and healthcare stocks lifted the share market higher, while the energy sector also pushed ahead despite weak oil prices.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed 0.53 per cent higher at 5928.2 yesterday, while the broader All Ordinaries rose 0.57 per cent.
The local indices continue to correct after falling more than 6 per cent in October, but Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee said earnings growth has peaked and share markets around the world will moderate from these levels.
“The bigger question for the market is whether we’re seeing growth rolling over and that would have implications for growth-related sectors such as the materials and energy sectors,” she said.
Oil prices are down about 5 per cent this month and this is usually an indication global growth is slowing, Ms Lee said.
Despite these weaker prices, the energy sector had its third straight day in the black with Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search and Origin Energy all up between 0.5 and 1.3 per cent.
But the miners reversed earlier gains to close more than half a per cent lower, dragged down by BHP, 0.2 per cent lower at $33.33, and South 32, down 0.6 per cent to $3.64. Rio Tinto was 0.3 per cent higher at $81.48. The gold miners were mostly down on softer precious metal prices.
The big four banks all had strong gains except NAB, which went exdividend yesterday, fell 3.6 per cent to $24.93.
ANZ climbed 2.3 per cent to $27.05, while Commonwealth Bank and Westpac were up 1.8 per cent.
The competition watchdog announced yesterday it will allow Fairfax Media’s $4 billion merger with Nine Entertainment to go ahead after deciding the move would not diminish competition in Australian news and media.
Shares in both companies closed flat, Fairfax at 62.5 cents and Nine at $1.68.