Energy, miners drive share market higher

Lilly Vitorovich
(Australian Associated Press)

 

Australian shares are higher as strength in the energy and mining sectors offsets weakness among the major banks, and the Australian dollar has been boosted by better-than-expected economic growth.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 0.34 per cent at 6,015.1 points at 1200 AEST, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 0.32 per cent at 6,127.8 points.

The miners are benefiting from a bounce in commodity prices, with BHP Billiton up 1.9 per cent at $33.355, Rio Tinto up 2.2 per cent at $83.77, gold miner Newcrest up 2.1 per cent at $21.49 and OZ Minerals was 3.6 per cent higher at $10.385.

The price of brent crude oil improved overnight after recently hitting its lowest price in nearly a month, and Woodside Petroleum was up 2.3 per cent at $32.75, Santos was up 1.9 per cent at $5.755 and Oil Search was 16 per cent stonger at $8.29.

All four major banks were weaker, with Commonwealth Bank the worst performer, down 1.3 per cent at $69.48, while ANZ’s fall was the most modest, down 0.4 per cent at $26.56.

The competition watchdog late on Tuesday confirmed ANZ, Deutsche Bank and Citigroup had been charged with criminal cartel offences related to ANZ’s 2015 share placement.

Metcash was down 3.4 per cent at $2.665 after the IGA supermarkets supplier said it will recognise a $352 million impairment charge due to the loss of one of its South Australian supermarket customers.

The market’s reaction to the release of gross domestic product data was muted, but the Australian dollar gained about a quarter of a US cent.

The economy expanded 1.0 per cent in the March quarter and grew 3.1 per cent over the 12 months to March, slightly ahead of market consensus forecasts, with a strong rise in exports, in particular coal, iron ore and liquefied natural gas, accounting for half the increase.

The Australian dollar jumped to 76.65 US cents on the news, and was trading at 76.56 US cents at 1200 AEST, up from 76.38 US cents on Tuesday.


ON THE ASX AT 1200 AEST:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 20.2 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 6,015.1 points

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 19.3 points, or 0.32 per cent, at 6,127.8 points

* The SPI200 futures contract was up 21 points, or 0.35 per cent, at 6,021 points

* National turnover was 1.3 billion securities traded worth $1.6 billion.

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