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Sunday 24

February, 2019 4:25 PM



Banks lift ASX before Hayne report drops

Banks lift ASX before Hayne report drops

Australian shares have closed higher, receiving a surprising boost from the financial sector before the release of the Royal Commission report.

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By AAP 04.02.2019 04:48 PM

Financial stocks have given the Australian share market a surprising lift despite the sector bracing for the fallout from a landmark misconduct inquiry.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed 28.4 points, or 0.48 per cent, higher at 5,891.2 points on Monday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 27.7 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 5,963.0 as analysis of Kenneth Hayne's financial services report gets underway.

The Royal Commission findings were released by the government shortly after the close of market.

Rakuten Securities analyst Nick Twidale said Monday's financial sector gains were an unexpected feature of an otherwise unremarkable day.

"It remains to be seen if (bank shares) will remain at that state after the report comes out but it's not been a bad day," he said.

Mr Twidale said the Chinese holiday had dampened enthusiasm for equities while a lack of detail around US-China trade negotiations were cause for concern.

It would be a different story on Tuesday, he said.

"We'll likely go from a moribund day to a really volatile day tomorrow - not only because of the report, but we've also got the RBA decision, and retail trade data".

ANZ climbed highest of the big four, adding 1.16 per cent to $25.22, followed by Westpac, up 1.18 per cent to $24.87 and NAB, 1.01 per cent higher at $24.03.

Commonwealth Bank shares were still up 0.77 per cent despite being ordered by ASIC to provide its financial planning services for free, for now, after not doing enough to fix its fees-for-no-service issues.

Macquarie Group added 0.25 per cent to $116.70, while insurers QBE, IAG and Suncorp each rose between 0.53 and 2.1 per cent.

Stocks in beleaguered wealth manager AMP fell 1.34 per cent to $2.21 and IOOF Holdings dropped 4.5 per cent to $4.88.

Elsewhere, energy stocks finished higher but the mining sector weighed on the market.

Boral shares dropped 7.89 per cent after the building materials provider cut its domestic outlook and flagged delays at big projects would dent half-year profits.

Earlier, the Aussie dollar slipped after dire home building data dealt another blow to the economic outlook, buying 72.30 US cents from 72.39 US cents on Friday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index up 28.4 points, or 0.48 per cent, at 5,891.2 points at 1630 AEDT on Friday

* The All Ordinaries was up 27.7 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 5,963.0

* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was up 36 points, or 0.62 per cent, at 5,837.0.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 72.30 US cents, from 72.39 US on Friday

* 79.36 Japanese yen, from 78.82

* 63.19 euro cents, from 63.28

* 55.31 British pence, from 55.26

* 104.94 NZ cents, from 104.75

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1312.88 per fine ounce, from $US1320.66 on Friday.

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