The Australian share market has closed comfortably higher, following a lift in global sentiment as major financial stocks recovered from early losses to join all other sectors in positive territory.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 0.72 per cent higher at 5,953.6 points on Friday, while the broader All Ordinaries was 0.66 per cent up at 6,042.9 points.
CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said a big turnaround in sentiment over the last 24 hours has fed into Asia-Pacific trading.
“Markets were impressed with European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi keeping policy on hold overnight and that has seen both stocks and bonds lifting in concert,” Mr McCarthy said.
Also, strong earnings reports from Facebook, Amazon and chipmakers Advanced Micro Devices and Qualcomm in the US had helped dissipate the recent caution among local traders.
“The rally on the Nasdaq has spoken directly to fears about valuations in the US, so we have a much more stable share market environment globally,” Mr McCarthy said.
On the ASX, the major lenders that were hammered earlier in the week recovered from morning losses, with only the Commonwealth Bank weaker.
Commonwealth Bank was down 71 cents, or 1.0 per cent, at $71.54.
Westpac ended 17 cents, or 0.6 per cent higher, at $28.30, after recovering slightly from a UBS downgrade that triggered the banking sell-off on Thursday.
ANZ, down 1.7 per cent at lunchtime, rose to finish six cents, or 0.2 per cent, higher at $26.63 and similarly, National Australia Bank fell early but closed higher – up 0.4 per cent to $28.59.
Scandal-struck AMP hit a new low, down a further three cents, or 0.7 per cent, to $4.02 after revelations the wealth manager may have breached the corporations act on 20 occasions and could face criminal charges.
AMP’s market value has fallen $2.2 billion since the beginning of the royal commission.
Elsewhere, the healthcare sector led market gains, lifting 2.4 per cent on the back of blood products giant CSL, up $4.74, or 2.8 per cent, to $170.39, and ear implant specialist Cochlear, up $5.28, or 2.8 per cent to $193.11.
A late moderation in global oil prices did not impact local energy producers, Santos was up 0.7 per cent, to $6.24, and Oil Search lifted 0.9 per cent to $7.96.
Among the miners, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto both rose 0.3 per cent to $31.11 and $79.65, respectively.
Incitec Pivot gained four cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $3.84 after flagging a $236 million impairment hit in its first-half results, offset by a one-off cash benefit from the US tax reforms.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has lost further ground to a rallying greenback boosted by better-than-expected jobs data and a steady ECB policy meeting overnight.
At 1630 AEST, the local currency was worth 75.45 US cents, down from 75.72 US cents on Thursday.
ON THE ASX AT 1630 AEST:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 42.8 points, or 0.72 per cent, at 5,953.6 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 39.9 points, or 0.66 per cent, at 6,042.9 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was up 48 points, or 0.66 per cent, at 5,942 points.
* National turnover was 3.1 billion securities traded worth $7.8 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 75.47 US cents, from 75.72 on Thursday
* 82.48 Japanese yen, from 82.76 yen
* 62.42 euro cents, from 62.19 euro cents
* 54.21 British pence, from 54.32 pence
* 107.01 NZ cents, from 107.24 cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,316.33 per fine ounce, from $US1,324.79 per fine ounce on Thursday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:
* CGS 5.75 per cent May 2021, 2.2205pct, from 2.2489pct on Thursday
* CGS 2.25pct May 2028, 2.8214pct, from 2.8689pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* June 2018 10-year bond futures contract was 97.16 (implying a yield of 2.84pct), from 97.120 (2.880pct) on Thursday
* June 2018 3-year bond futures contract was 97.735 (2.265pct), from 97.710 (2.290pct)
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEST previous local session)