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Wednesday 14

November, 2018 9:32 AM



Miners and banks rally late to lift ASX

Miners and banks rally late to lift ASX

Australian shares have closed higher, aided by BHP stocks after the miner announced it would return $US10.4 billion to shareholders.

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By AAP 01.11.2018 05:09 PM

On the first day of November the Australian share market drew inspiration from the spring carnival - it jumped, fell behind but sensed the winning post and surged clear to close higher, lifted by banking and mining stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed 10.5 points, or 0.18 per cent, higher at 5840.8 on Thursday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 0.21 per cent.

The market chopped and changed throughout the day and Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee said there may have been an element of profit taking which created the mixed results.

"We peaked about 11am and since then we've been moving downwards," she told AAP.

"That's the case for the banks, that's the case for the property sector and that's also the case for the energy sector."

The financial sector was flat despite NAB being the only major lender in the black, rising 0.6 per cent to $25.35 on positive news within the announcement of a 14.2 per cent drop in full-year profit due to restructuring costs and customer remediation.

Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and ANZ were all down between 0.3 and 0.7 per cent.

AMP shares soared on speculation Macquarie Group was eyeing a takeover, with stocks in the under-fire wealth manager up 6.9 per cent to $2.64.

Materials were stronger after BHP announced a $US5.2 billion share buyback to start immediately and a subsequent $US5.2 billion special dividend to be calculated on December 17, with its shares climbing 2.8 per cent to $33.11.

Rio Tinto also gained, rising 2.1 per cent to $78.00, while Bluescope Steel and South32 were down 0.6 and 0.8 per cent.

Energy stocks were the biggest drag of the local indices after oil prices posted the worst monthly performance since mid-2016 on evidence of rising global crude supply.

Origin Energy, Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Caltex were all about one per cent lower.

Telstra weighed on the telco sector with a fall of nearly two per cent to $3.02, while health care stocks reversed early losses and closed higher.

Consumer staples was lifted by Woolworths climbing nearly one per cent to $28.70 after the supermarket giant's first-quarter food sales rose 1.8 per cent to $9.87 billion.

The Australian dollar edged higher after the trade surplus swelled to a near two-year peak in September, helped by a bumper run in resource exports.

The Aussie was buying 71.27 US cents at 1630, up from 70.89 US cents on Wednesday.

ON THE ASX:

* The S&P/ASX200 closed 10.5 points, or 0.18 per cent, higher at 5840.8

* The All Ordinaries closed 12.6 points, or 0.21 per cent, higher at 5925.9

* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was up nine points, or 0.16 per cent, at 5807.0 points.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 71.27 US cents, from 70.89 US cents on Wednesday

* 80.46 Japanese yen, from 80.31

* 62.85 euro cents, from 62.50

* 55.50 British pence, from 55.76

* 108.25 NZ cents, from 108.26

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1218.10 per fine ounce, from $US1217.72 on Wednesday.

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