Sharemarket shakes off Middle East concerns High- note finish
T H E A u s t r a l i a n sharemarket ended the week on a high note, driven by gains in the materials sector after a positive lead from Wall Street overshadowed geopolitical concerns in the Middle East.
T h e b e n c h m a r k S & P / ASX200 index was up 57.9 points, or 1.2 per cent, at 4 8 6 4 . 3 p o i n t s wh i l e t h e broader All Ordinaries index gained 55.8 points, or 1.14 per cent, to 4958.6 points.
CMC Markets analyst Matt Lewis said positive jobs data from the US was the catalyst for a strong session on the Australian bourse.
Not only was the trend posi- tive, but trading volumes were fairly robust, Mr Lewis said.
Overall national turnover was 3.69 billion shares worth $ 5.27 billion, with 769 stocks up, 464 down and 348 unchanged.
‘‘ Rather than focusing on the Middle East or Northern African turmoil, traders ( in the US) turned their attention last night back to the actual economic data, which is continuing to show signs of positi ve growth,’’ Mr Lewis said.
‘‘ They were expecting initial jobless claims to come in higher than they did. That was seen as a good sign.’’
Mr Lewis said it was unsurprising to see major base metals miners gain ground after the oil price eased overnight.
BHP Billiton was up 70 cents, or 1.5 per cent, at $ 47.25 while Rio Tinto rose $ 1.32, or 1.57 per cent, to $ 85.52.
Amon g e n e r g y s t o c k s , Woodside was 33 cents lower at $ 42.85, Oil Search retreated four cents to $ 6.86 and Santos gave up three cents to $ 14.46.
In the banking sector, National Australia Bank was up 23 cents at $ 25.52, Westpac lifted 37 cents to $ 23.48, ANZ firmed 14 cents to $ 23.74, and Commonwealth Bank appreciated 54 cents at $ 52.65.
Australia’s l argest gold miner Newcrest j umped $ 1.79, or 4.68 per cent, to $ 40.02 after saying it was bullish about its Papua New Guinea operations as it embarks on a global investor roadshow.
But the market gold price fell on Thursday on indications that the European Central Bank may raise interest rates to fight inflation.
The spot price of gold in Sydney was $ US1418.105 per fine ounce, down $ US10.395 on Thursday’s closing price of $ US1428.50.