The Australian share market has finished higher after energy stocks rallied on stronger oil prices and local retailers gained on news Amazon will block Australian consumers from buying products from its overseas sites.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 27.2 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 6,011.9 points, and the All Ords finished 29.7 points, or 0.49 per cent, higher at 6,123.5 points.
US and European share markets recovered overnight after heavy falls on Tuesday as Italy’s 5-Star Movement party made a renewed attempt to form a coalition government – easing fears of new elections and eurozone instability.
Bell Direct equities strategist Julia Lee said the Australian market was tracking for a weekly decline of less than half a per cent.
“What’s been quite impressive has been how the Australian market has held up despite the volatility in markets that we have seen this week,” she said.
“Investors are more focused on the fundamentals in earnings and where the outperformance and underperformance is likely to be.”
Ms Lee said the Australian market was up by half a per cent for May, which was positive given it was usually the weakest month of the year.
The energy sector was the star of the local market on Thursday after oil prices rebounded from a four-day slump and Russia’s central bank expressed caution on plans to boost oil supply.
Santos climbed 19 cents, or 3.6 per cent, to $5.86, Woodside Petroleum jumped 74 cents, or 2.3 per cent, to $32.41, and Oil Search was 21 cents, or 2.6 per cent, stronger at $8.27.
Australian retailers advanced after Amazon announced it will block Australia-based customers trying to buy products on its overseas sites when the GST is applied to all imported e-commerce items in July.
Local e-commerce site Kogan.com closed up two cents, or 0.2 per cent, at $9.09, while electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi jumped 55 cents, or 2.6 per cent to $23.99, and Harvey Norman added six cents, or 1.7 per cent to $3.60.
A spike in the price of iron ore for the first time this week boosted mining stocks, with Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals posting solid gains.
The banks were mixed, while major healthcare stocks CSL and Cochlear Limited softened 0.7 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively after strong advances on Wednesday.
In company news, shares in MYOB Group fell 25 cents, or 8.2 per cent, to $2.81 after the software group scrapped a $180 million deal to acquire the Australian and New Zealand assets of Reckon’s Accountant Group.
Shares in Compumedics soared 31 cents, or 75.6 per cent, to 72 cents after the company said it will form a joint venture with a China-based health check organisation that will purchase one million of its sleep monitoring devices.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar bounced back against its US counterpart, supported by gains in commodities.
At 1700 AEST, the Australian currency was US 75.76 cents, from 75.06 US cents on Wednesday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 27.2 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 6,011.9 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 29.7 points, or 0.49 per cent, at 6,123.5 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was up 22 points, or 0.37 per cent, at 6,017 points
* National turnover was 3.5 billion securities traded worth $9.2 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 75.76 US cents, from 75.06 US cents on Wednesday
* 82.28 Japanese yen, from 81.70 yen
* 64.83 euro cents, from 64.82 euro cents
* 56.91 British pence, from 56.55 pence
* 108.25 NZ cents, from 108.46 NZ cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,304.94 per fine ounce, from $US1,297.67 per fine ounce on Wednesday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:
* CGS 5.75 per cent May 2021, 2.0941pct, from 2.0914pct on Wednesday
* CGS 2.25pct May 2028, 2.6729pct, from 2.6472pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* June 2018 10-year bond futures contract was 97.325 (implying a yield of 2.675pct), from 97.350 (2.650pct) on Wednesday
* June 2018 3-year bond futures contract was 97.87 (2.13pct), from 97.875 (2.125pct)
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEST previous local session)