The Australian share market has closed at its highest level in six weeks, wrapping up April with a run of gains that has added 230 points to the benchmark index since March.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 29.1 points, or 0.49 per cent, at 5,982.7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 28.7 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 6,071.6 points.
A mixed result on Wall Street weakened by inflation concerns did not deter opportunity buying across the local bourse on Monday, CMC Markets chief strategist Michael McCarthy said.
Financial stocks posted solid gains after a decline late last week on the back of adverse news out of the banking royal commission.
“Last week institutional investors deserted financial stocks and rotated into other sectors like industrials and utilities, so what we’re seeing in the market looks like a bit of bargain hunting,” Mr McCarthy said.
All of the big four lenders ended Monday higher.
National Australia Bank lifted 1.3 per cent to $28.95, Westpac was up 1.2 per cent to $28.64, ANZ gained 0.8 per cent to $26.84 and Commonwealth Bank was ahead 0.4 per cent at $71.82.
Macquarie Private Wealth division director Lucinda Chan said that while some investors were holding off in the absence of strong economic leads, there was definite support for the undervalued banks.
“The major financials sell-offs in recent weeks left the door open for traders to capitalise and otherwise cautious investors have poured in,” Ms Chan said.
AMP shares recovered from morning losses after chairman Catherine Brenner quit her post, becoming the latest casualty in fallout from breaches revealed at the financial services royal commission.
AMP ended 2.0 cents, or 0.5 per cent higher to $4.04, but is still at its lowest mark since mid-2012.
AGL shares climbed throughout the session, finishing up 1.3 per cent to $21.73 after Hong Kong-based Alinta Energy made an unsolicited, $250 million cash offer for the Liddell power station that AGL has slated for closure in 2022.
Local energy producers ended mixed with global oil prices slipping as the US rig count rose to its highest since march 2015.
Woodside Petroleum lost 0.1 per cent, to $32.22 and Oil Search fell 1.5 per cent to $7.84.
Origin Energy gained 1.4 per cent to $9.75 and Santos Oil lost 1.6 per cent to $6.14 despite announcing its liquefied natural gas plant in PNG will be back at full production next month after February’s earthquake.
Softer metals prices left the biggest miners mixed, with Rio Tinto up 0.3 per cent to $79.86 but BHP BIlliton sinking 0.5 per cent to $30.95.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has fallen back from gains against the greenback over the weekend, but remains above Friday’s close, after Chinese manufacturing data showed a slight slowing in factory activity in April.
At 1700 AEST, the local currency was worth 75.59 US cents, from 75.47 US cents on Friday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed up 29.1 points, or 0.49 per cent, at 5,982.7 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 28.7 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 6,071.6 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was up 24 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 5,966 points
* National turnover was 2.7 billion securities traded worth $6.9 billion
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 75.59 US cents, from 75.47 on Friday
* 82.55 Japanese yen, from 82.48 yen
* 62.29 euro cents, from 62.42 euro cents
* 54.92 British pence, from 54.21 pence
* 107.87 NZ cents, from 107.01 cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1200 AEST was $US1,318.25 per fine ounce, from $US1,316.33 per fine ounce on Friday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:
* CGS 5.75 per cent May 2021, 2.1803pct, from 2.2205pct on Friday
* CGS 2.25pct May 2028, 2.7703pct, from 2.8214pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* June 2018 10-year bond futures contract was 97.215 (implying a yield of 2.785pct), from 97.160 (2.840pct) on Friday
* June 2018 3-year bond futures contract was 97.78 (2.22pct), from 97.735 (2.265pct)
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEST previous local session)