Australian shares hit a six-month high despite falls from major miners trading ex-dividend and disappointing retail sales figures.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 18.3 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 6,263.9 points at 1615 AEDT on Thursday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 17.4 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 6344.2.
It’s the ASX200’s best close since early September and its sixth day of gains in the last seven days. Since the start of the year it is up 10.9 per cent.
“A good day, and some good volumes going through too,” said Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee.
Most sectors were higher except tech and mining.
Mining giant BHP was down 0.66 per cent, Rio Tinto was down 4.76 per cent and South32 was down 1.8 per cent, with all three trading ex-dividend on Thursday, dragging down the sector.
Super Retail Group led ASX200 gainers, closing up 4.81 per cent to $7.62 after appointing retailing veteran Gary Wilson to lead its Rebel Sports brand.
By sector, telecom shares were up the most, a collective 1.18 per cent.
Telstra gained 1.57 per cent and TPG was up 2.27 per cent.
Consumer staples and consumer discretionary shares were positive despite retail spending figures that missed market expectations.
Retail spending rose 0.1 per cent in January, the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced, under the consensus forecast of a 0.3 per cent rise.
Still, Wesfarmers was up 0.97 per cent, Coles was up 1.49 per cent and JB Hi-Fi was up 3.32 per cent.
“There doesn’t seem to be an impact, all of the retailers are trading higher,” Ms Lee said.
“It’s surprising to see the relative strength in the consumer discretionary given the weakness in the numbers.”
NAB shares gained the most of the big four banks after announcing the appointment of Philip Chronican as its chairman, up 0.82 per cent to a four-month high of $25.67.
ANZ was down 0.11 per cent, Commonwealth down 0.09 per cent and Westpac added 0.33 per cent.
Pharma giant CSL gained 0.7 per cent.
The Aussie dollar is buying 70.46 US cents, up from 70.33 cents on Wednesday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 18.1 points, or 0.29 per cent, at 6,199.3 points at 1630 AEDT on Thursday.
* The All Ordinaries was down 21.1 points, or 0.33 per cent, at 6,281.4.
* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index down one point at 6269.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 70.46 US cents, from 70.32 US on Wednesday
* 78.72 Japanese yen, from 78.60
* 62.34 euro cents, from 62.20
* 53.46 British pence, from 53.37
* 103.85 NZ cents, from 103.89
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1284.69 per fine ounce, from $US1286.27 on Wednesday.