The Australian share market has closed slightly higher following a late burst in buying that lifted the market out of a midday trough.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 stock index closed up 6.2 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 5,988.8 points on Monday, as shares in the investment bank Macquarie breached the $100 mark for the first time in its near 50 year history.
Citi director of equities sales Karen Jorritsma said the lacklustre day on the local market was fed by inertia in big bank and mining stocks and a drop in Telstra, which fell 0.6 per cent on news of further NBN delays.
“When the heavyweight end of town is sitting still, its difficult to get the market moving,” Ms Jorritsma said.
Macquarie Bank shares ended the day 78 cents, or 0.8 per cent higher at $100.20, a gain of almost 20 per cent in 12 weeks from a low of $82.70 on September 8.
The Group’s shares have been trading at a record high since late October when the bank announced an on-market buyback of up to $1 billion and a first-half profit of $1.25 billion.
The big four banks ended the day mixed after early morning losses, with the National Australia Bank up eight cents at $29.64, Westpac up one cent at $31.52, the Commonwealth Bank down seven cents at $80.50 and ANZ down two cents at $28.86.
A rise in the price of iron ore still left the major miners mixed with BHP Billiton down 0.1 per cent, Rio Tinto steady and Fortescue Metals up 1.3 per cent.
Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search and Santos ended between 0.8 and 0.2 per cent lower.
Engineering group Downer EDI’s shares rose 5.1 per cent to $7.07 following an upgrade to its full-year profit guidance due to better-than-expected cost savings as it integrates the 87.8 per cent stake it secured in Spotless this year.
Spotless shares were 0.1 per cent lower, at $1.10
Shares in Aussie beer maker Broo soared 30.5 per cent, to 38.5 cents, their highest level in a year, on the back of a $120 million Chinese distribution deal .
Around lunchtime the Australian dollar fell below 76 US cents for the first time since July and but recovered to be trading at 76.05 US cents at 1630 AEDT on Monday, from 76.21 on Friday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 stock index was up 6.2 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 5,988.8 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 7.3 points, or 0.12 per cent, at 6,070.4 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was down one point, or 0.02 per cent, at 5,992 points.
* National turnover was 4.7 billion securities traded worth $5.6 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 76.07 US cents, from 76.21 on Friday
* 84.7275 Japanese yen, from 85.00 yen
* 63.77 euro cents, from 64.32 euro cents
* 57.11 British pence, from 57.36 pence
* 110.81 NZ cents, from 110.87 cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,290.16 per fine ounce, from $US1,291.61 per fine ounce on Friday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.8235pct, unchanged
* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.4818pct, unchanged
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* December 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.46 (implying a yield of 2.54pct), from 97.48 (implying a yield of 2.52pct) on Friday
* December 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.07 (1.93pct), from 98.06 (1.94pct).
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)