Positive end to trading
THE Australian stock market ended nearly one per cent higher yesterday, led by mining, energy and financial stocks.
At 1615 AEDT, the benchmark S& P/ ASX200 index was up 43 points, or 0.91 per cent, at 4742.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had climbed 46.1 points, or 0.96 per cent, to 4840.3 points.
Shares in Woodside were up $ 1.16, or 2.5 per cent, at $ 46.72 as rumours swirled around the market that the company was looking at buying Shell’s 24 per cent stake in Woodside for $ 9 billion.
BHP Billiton stock ended flat at five cents higher at $ 44.76.
That was despite an announcement by t he resource giant that it would spend nearly $ US10 billion to expand iron ore operations and energy and metallurgical coal projects in Western Australia.
IG Markets research analyst Ben Potter said there had been a late sell-off, causing the market to lose around 30 points, due to profit taking at the end of the week.
‘‘ It’s still a pretty good result,’’ Mr Potter said.
‘‘ A 2.2 per cent gain for the week has been a solid bounce back, led by the energy, materials and financial stocks.’’
The gains this week were in stark contrast to heavy losses incurred after the Japanese tsunami and unrest in Libya.
‘‘ There are still a lot of problems in the world, but the market seems to be able to move past it,’’ he said.
‘ ‘ Yesterday, t here was smoke spewing out of the reactor and the market did nothing, so market sentiment has changed.
‘‘ It’s now looking pretty positive.’’
Other resource stocks were stronger. Rio Tinto was up 42 cents at $ 82.02, Santos was up 19 cents at $ 15.50 and Fortescue Metals Group rose 16 cents to $ 6.28.
The major banks were all stronger.