Aust stocks close strongly

Reported by AAP
Monday, February 13, 2012

Currency Converter

Mark BourisMyths bustedHome loans can seem a bit complicated and overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be. Mark Bouris clears up some common misconceptions.

EDS: Adds gold price and turnover.

By Greg Roberts

MELBOURNE, Feb 13 AAP - The Australian share market closed strongly, with investors delighted after the Greek parliament voted for an austerity package needed to obtain bailout funds.

After a slow start, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 39.8 points, or 0.94 per cent, to 4,285.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index firmed 36.8 points, or 0.85 per cent, to 4,359.4 points.

On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was 33 points higher at 4,251 at 1615 AEDT, with 29,777 contracts traded.

The upward moves on the Australian stock exchange were all related to the austerity vote in debt-laden Greece, which has been rocked by street battles between police and protesters overnight who oppose the fiscal tightening, IG Markets market strategist Stan Shamu said.

"It has been controversial for a while, at end of the day they are taking bad to avoid the worst," Mr Shamu said.

"The risk sentiment improved straight away.

"This morning we saw the risk currency start to trade higher on anticipation this vote was finally going to go through and Greece was going to be one step closer to getting the next tranche of aid."

All ASX indices finished higher except for property trusts, which were just in the red, while the strongest performers were gold miners and the banks, with the latter benefitting from the effects of the Greek vote.

ANZ Banking Group led the sector, gaining 35 cents, or 1.6 per cent, to $21.77.

National Australia Bank climbed 32 cents, or 1.39 per cent, to $23.26, Commonwealth Bank increased 41 cents, or 0.82 per cent, to $50.29, and Westpac firmed 30 cents, or 1.44 per cent, to $21.15.

Late in the day, Commonwealth Bank hiked its standard variable interest rate (SVR) on home loans by 10 basis points independently of the Reserve Bank.

The National Australia Bank late Monday increased its SVR by nine basis points, following increased by rivals ANZ and Westpac on Friday.

Major resources stocks finished strongly, with BHP Billiton continuing its climb in 2012 gaining 36 cents, or 0.99 per cent, to $36.66, Rio Tinto lifted 45 cents to $70.43, and Woodside Petroleum improved 18 cents to $35.58.

Australia's biggest gold producer Newcrest Mining finished up $1.09, or 3.2 per cent, at $35.10.

The price of gold in Sydney closed at $US1,728.84 per fine ounce, down $US3.86 from $US1,732.70.

The earnings season continued, with construction firm Leighton Holdings improved profits overshadowed by an alleged case of improper payments being made by one of the company's subsidiaries in Iraq.

Leighton was 47 cents, or 1.97 per cent lower at $23.38 despite the company saying that first-half profits had jumped 57 per cent.

Consumer products retailer JB Hi-Fi lost early gains to finish up four cents, or 0.33 per cent, to $12.03 after its net profit fell 9.4 per cent in the first half.

Analysts said most of the bad news was already priced into their share price.

The company reported an improvement in sales during February.

National turnover was 1.9 billion shares worth $3.81 billion, with 517 stocks up, 468 down and 400 unchanged.

Keep reading - next article
31/07/2014 11:17Sydney, Australia. 31 July,2014
advertisement