The Australian share market has closed slightly higher ahead of the federal budget and US President Donald Trump’s decision on the Iran nuclear deal.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed 7.4 points, or 0.12 per cent, higher at 6091.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index edged 7.6 points, or 0.12 per cent, higher at 6,183.2 points.
The financials, healthcare and utilities sectors’ gains have offset heavy losses by the energy sector and weakness across the miners and retailers.
Patersons Securities economist Tony Farnham said a largely positive end to the banks’ earnings season has triggered renewed buying in the sector, while a lower Australian dollar is helping companies with offshore earnings, particularly healthcare giant CSL.
But weaker-than-expected consumer spending figures for March have dampened appetite for the retail-related sectors, while the energy sector has been hit by profit taking.
Mr Farnham said there’s uncertainty around US President Donald Trump’s decision on whether the US will pull out of the Iran nuclear accord which waives sanctions on Iran’s energy and banking sector in exchange for restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear program.
“The energy sector has had a good run, but over the past 24 hours there’s been reports the UK, France and Germany are putting pressure on the US to not reintroduce sanctions because they don’t want to see higher oil prices,” Mr Farnham said.
“Everyone knows it is going to be an election skewed federal budget, the bigger market mover will be Donald Trump’s decision tonight on the Iranian accord.”
Energy giant Woodside Petroleum shares fell 59 cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $31.96, Origin Energy shed 12 cents, or 1.2 per cent, to $9.85 and Santos declined seven cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $6.05.
As for the big four banks, ANZ and Commonwealth Bank each gained 1.1 per cent, while Westpac rose 1.3 per cent and National Australia Bank gained 0.2 per cent.
Investment bank Macquarie performed strongly, gaining $1.91, or 1.7 per cent, to $112.00.
Embattled wealth manager AMP was down one cent, or 0.2 per cent, at $4.11, following the Tuesday morning resignations of three directors in the continuing fallout in the wake of revelations at the royal commission into financial services.
Among the healthcare giants, CSL was up $2.48, or 1.5 per cent, to $172.44 and Healthscope rose eight cents, or 3.3 per cent, to $2.48 after a Canadian healthcare property fund acquired a 10 per cent stake in the private hospital operator.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has tracked lower after official data showed retail spending was flat at $26.4 billion in March, missing market expectations of a 0.2 per cent monthly increase.
The currency was at 75.09 US cents by 1630 AEST after being at 75.21 US cents, just before the figures were announced and 75.18 US cents on Monday.
ON THE ASX AT THE CLOSE:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 7.4 points, or 0.12 per cent, at 6091.9 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 7.6 points, or 0.12 per cent, higher at 6,183.2 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was up seven points, or 0.12 per cent, at 6,071 points.
* National turnover was 2.2 billion securities traded worth $5.04 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 75.1 US cents, from 75.18 on Monday
* 82.84 Japanese yen, from 82.11 yen
* 63 euro cents, from 62.98 euro cents
* 55.32 British pence, from 55.51 pence
* 10695 NZ cents, from 107.19 cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,312.93 per fine ounce, from $US1,313.36 per fine ounce on Monday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:
* CGS 5.75 per cent May 2021, 2.1526pct, from 2.1582pct on Monday
* CGS 2.25pct May 2028, 2.74pct, from 2.755pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* June 2018 10-year bond futures contract was at 97.24 (implying a yield of 2.76pct), from 97.23 (implying a yield of 2.77pct), on Monday
* June 2018 3-year bond futures contract was steady at 97.8 (2.2pct)
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEST previous local session)