The Australian share market has ended the day comfortably higher with an end-of-week rally across most sectors, led by a jump in energy stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 stock index closed up 0.28 per cent at 5,994.4 points on Friday, with higher oil prices lifting energy companies, while the banks and Telstra wrapped up a week of gains on a positive note.
Phillip Capital senior client adviser Michael Heffernan said upward momentum was also being helped by US-exposed stocks ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s anticipated rate rise decision next week.
“Australian stocks with US-exposure like Macquarie Bank, Aristocrat and Boral have done well, alongside the ongoing rebound after a week where many stocks were heavily sold,” Mr Heffernan said.
Boral lifted 1.7 per cent and at $7.85 is at its best level in more than a decade, while Aristocrat gained 1.4 per cent on Friday to $23.02, close to its highest-ever price.
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision announced its latest capital requirement laws overnight, helping gains for the big four banks, while the prudential regulator said Australian banks would already meet the new capital reserves under plans announced in July.
National Australia Bank was up 0.5 per cent at $29.84, Commonwealth Bank was up 0.8 per cent to $79.62, while ANZ gained 0.1 per cent to $28.51.
Westpac shares finished 0.6 per cent higher at $31.57, while at the bank’s annual general meeting on Friday chairman Lindsay Maxsted said criticism of his sector was “warranted” and a royal commission would help restore trust.
Investment bank Macquarie Bank gained 1.9 per cent, at $98.65 and looks likely to breach $100 for only the second time before Christmas, Mr Heffernan said.
“Looking at the market figures over consecutive Decembers it is consistently the strongest month of trade, gaining on average more than two per cent, which looks very good for Macquarie and for the market’s 6,000 point mark,” Mr Heffernan said.
The major miners were mixed after iron ore futures fell almost eight per cent in Dalian overnight, with Rio Tinto 0.4 per cent lower and Fortescue Metals shedding 0.2 per cent, while BHP Billiton recovered in late trading, up 0.1 per cent.
Following the overnight fall in the price of gold, Newcrest Mining was down 1.2 per cent.
The telecom sector surged, led largely by a 3.5 per cent gain for Vocus as well as ongoing confidence in the value presented by Telstra, which gained another 1.1 per cent to go with its eight per cent overall climb this week, closing at $3.69.
Energy stocks gained on rising global oil prices.
Santos closed 0.8 per cent higher at $5.00, Oil Search was ahead one per cent and Woodside Petroleum recovered to be 0.2 per cent.
Origin Energy added 1.3 per cent to end at $9.13.
AWE shares lifted 10.6 per cent to 73 cents following a new takeover bid from its state-owned Chinese courtier, the China Energy Reserve and Chemical Group (CERCG).
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has continued its slide against a US dollar strengthening in expectation of a rise in the US cash rate next week.
The local currency was trading at 75.14 US cents at 1700 AEDT on Friday, from 75.44 on Thursday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed up 16.7 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 5,994.4 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 16.6 points, or 0.27 per cent, at 6,077.4 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was up 21 points, or 0.30 per cent, at 6,002 points
* National turnover was 3.7 billion securities traded worth $6.05 billion
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 75.14 US cents, from 75.44 on Thursday
* 85.20 Japanese yen, from 84.88 yen
* 63.86 euro cents, from 63.98 euro cents
* 55.61 British pence, from 56.43 pence
* 109.89 NZ cents, from 110.10 cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,249.28 per fine ounce, from $US1,260.29 per fine ounce on Thursday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.8628pct, from 1.8401pct
* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.4911pct, from 2.4746pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* December 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.455 (implying a yield of 2.545pct), from 97.47 (implying a yield of 2.53pct) on Thursday
* December 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.03 (1.97pct), from 98.055 (1.945pct).
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)