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Australian shares higher on energy, mining

Christian Edwards  |  03 Jan 2018Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  
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Australian shares have closed higher as surging iron ore and coking coal prices helped lift energy and mining sectors.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 stock index was up 18.2 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 1630 AEDT on Wednesday, as gains among the mining and energy companies offset weakness elsewhere across the bourse.

AxiTrader chief market strategist Greg McKenna, said local investors across the broader market lacked an "Australian specific" story to follow.

"That's why there's a bit of a handbrake on us - basic materials have gone through the roof but the rest of the market has struggled," Mr McKenna said.

Rising iron ore and coking coal prices drove gains for local mining and energy producers.

BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP), Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) were up 1.7 per cent, 2.2 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively, while Whitehaven Coal gained 1.8 per cent.

Alongside Whitehaven (ASX: WHC) in the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum (ASX: WPL) ended 1.1 per cent higher at $33.55, and Origin Energy (ASX: ORG) rose 1.4 per cent to $9.57.

Among the lenders, National Australia Bank (ASX: NAB) gave up its morning gains to end the day the worst performing of the big four banks with a 0.3 per cent fall to $29.48.

ANZ (ASX: ANZ) was the only gainer, with a single cent rise to $28.59.

Yowie Group lost a third of its value to close at a near five-year low of 14 cents following the chocolate maker's announcement of a sharp pullback in full-year sales guidance.

Paint and adhesives supplier DuluxGroup (ASX: DLX) lost 0.8 per cent to $7.60, after winding back its China-facing operations as its DGL Camel International agreed to offload most of its Hong Kong and China coatings portfolio.

Mr McKenna said the Australian dollar has edged lower against a greenback lingering around three-month lows.

"The atmospherics are positive but in the short-term the pullback in cooper has been a handbrake on the Australian dollar," Mr McKenna said.

The local currency was trading at 78.22 US cents at 1700 AEDT on Wednesday, down from 78.39 on Tuesday.

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 9.1 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 6,070.4 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 9.3 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 6,175.3
* The SPI200 futures contract was up nine points, or 0.15 per cent, at 6,031 points
* National turnover was 4.6 billion securities traded worth $4 billion

One Australian dollar buys:
* 78.22 US cents, from 78.39 on Tuesday
* 87.82 Japanese yen, from 88.34 yen
* 64.87 euro cents, from 65.20 euro cents
* 57.49 British pence, from 57.98 pence
* 110.21 NZ cents, from 110.08 cents

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,314.60 per fine ounce, from $US1,3007.43 per fine ounce on Tuesday.
* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.0466pct, from 2.0544pct
* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.6624pct, from 2.6335pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.285 (implying a yield of 2.715pct), from 97.31 (implying a yield of 2.69pct) on Tuesday
* March 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.825 (2.175pct), from 97.82 (2.18pct)
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)


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