The ASX200 has closed higher for the first time in five days, driven by the energy and tech sectors.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 18.4 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 6179.6 points at 1615 AEDT on Thursday, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 20.8 points, or 0.33 per cent, at 6266.8.
“Good to see the market doing well,” with most sectors up despite weak economic figures out of China, said Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee.
Energy shares led gains, up a collective 1.44 per cent, while the utilities sector had the largest losses, down 0.4 per cent.
Oil futures rallied more than one per cent overnight as Saudi Arabia pledged to cut exports and a blackout in Venezuela disrupted both production and exports, helping Santos, Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search, Beach Energy add between 1.39 per cent and 3.48 per cent.
Mining giant BHP was up 0.79 per cent, Rio Tinto was up 0.95 per cent and Fortescue Metals was up 0.46 per cent.
Gold miners gained after the price of the yellow metal hit a two-week high, Northern Star up one per cent and Evolution Mining up 1.64 per cent. Newcrest Mining was flat, however.
The big four banks – ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac – were down between 0.16 per cent and 0.67 per cent, with ANZ the worst hit.
Ms Lee said the financial sector was under pressure because of indications that increased capital requirements by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand would force Australian banks – particularly ANZ – to partially sell their New Zealand assets.
Kogan was up 8.12 per cent after it launched a marketplace for online retailers in a bid to fend off US-based rival Amazon.
Stockland was up 0.81 per cent after the property investment company said it sold off a shopping mall and a retail and commercial centre in Brisbane.
Retail Food Group was down 5.13 per cent after it was slammed by a slammed by a parliamentary inquiry over its treatment of franchisees.
Telstra was flat and pharma giant CSL was down 0.08 per cent.
The gains came despite China’s industrial output and retail sales figures for the first two months of the year showed slowing growth.
National Australia Bank said in a commentary that it appeared China’s manufacturing conditions remain weak, consistent with NAB’s view that China’s economic growth will keep easing this year.
The Aussie dollar is buying 70.62 US cents, up from 70.96 on Wednesday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 18.4 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 6,179.6 points at 1630 AEDT on Thursday.
* The All Ordinaries was up 20.8 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 6,266.8.
* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was up 25 points, or 0.41 per cent, at 6187.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 70.62 US cents, from 70.96 US on Wednesday
* 78.79 Japanese yen, from 78.86
* 62.39 euro cents, from 62.63
* 53.31 British pence, from 53.20
* 103.25 NZ cents, from 103.47
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1303.72 per fine ounce, from $US1309.09 on Wednesday.