A late surge from heavyweight banking, mining and energy stocks has pulled the Australian share market higher on a choppy trading day.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index dipped and dived but closed 25.2 points, or 0.43 per cent, higher at 5830.3 on Wednesday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 0.43 per cent.
The Australian dollar fell slightly as the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced the inflation rate grew 0.4 per cent in September, below market expectations.
The Aussie was buying 70.89 US cents at 16.30 from 70.93 on Tuesday.
Data released on Wednesday showed China’s manufacturing sector grew in October at its weakest pace in over two years, hurt by slowing domestic and external demand.
CommSec chief market analyst Steven Daghlian said this combined with the unpredictability of the last day of the month – the worst in more than three years – created mixed results for the indices.
The local market was down 6.08 per cent in October.
“We’re also coming off the back of two very strong performances from our market, with shares up more than one per cent on both Monday and Tuesday,” said Mr Daghlian.
The financial sector closed nearly one per cent higher with ANZ climbing 1.1 per cent to $25.93 after it announced its full-year cash profit dropped five per cent to $6.5 billion, less than some analysts had forecast.
Fellow major lender Commonwealth Bank was up 1.6 per cent at $69.23 following confirmation it will sell Colonial First State global asset management to Japanese bank Mitsubishi UFJ Trust for $4.13 billion.
Gains for NAB and Westpac were more modest, up 0.4 and 0.04 per cent respectively, while QBE stocks lifted 2.4 per cent after announcing its Asia Pacific arm will no longer be a separate division.
For the miners, both BHP and Rio Tinto pared back losses and closed flat as the sector reversed its negative position for most of Wednesday to end 0.2 per cent higher.
BlueScope Steel was also flat but Fortescue Metals was lower, as were the gold miners, with the precious metal retreating further on a strong US dollar.
Energy stocks were the strongest of the local indices despite sliding oil prices, with a sector-wide gain of 1.4 per cent fuelled by rises in Caltex, up 3.1 per cent, and Woodside Petroleum, up 2.3 per cent.
Health care shares were another to reverse losses as CSL, Cochlear and ResMed all closed higher.
ON THE ASX:
* The S&P/ASX200 closed 25.2 points, or 0.43 per cent, higher at 5830.3
* The All Ordinaries closed 25.4 points, or 0.43 per cent, higher at 5913.3
* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was up 25 points, or 0.43 per cent, at 5797.0 points.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 70.89 US cents, from 70.93 US cents on Tuesday
* 80.31 Japanese yen, from 79.93
* 62.50 euro cents, from 62.34
* 55.76 British pence, from 55.38
* 108.26 NZ cents, from 108.26
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1217.72 per fine ounce, from $US1231.20 on Tuesday.