• SYDNEY, AAP – Investors have watched Australia’s share market return to the heights of more than 7000 points, though gains were moderate.

    The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 16.9 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 7014.4 at 1200 AEST on Thursday.

    The All Ordinaries was higher by 14.7 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7273.6 points.

    Property shares were the standout, up 1.6 per cent.

    The next biggest gains were in health and consumer staples, up 0.6 per cent.

    The major financial and materials shares were only 0.1 per cent higher.

    Energy shares had the biggest drop, 1.04 per cent.

    Earlier, Wall Street produced a broad rally after a downbeat start to the week.

    Investors continued to work through company earnings reports while keeping an eye on bond yields, which eased lower.

    The Nasdaq Composite added 1.19 per cent to 13,950.22. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.93 per cent to 34,137.31, while the S&P 500 gained 0.93 per cent at 4,173.42.

    In Australia, strong economic recovery from last year’s recession looks to have spilled over into the first three months of 2021.

    The National Australia Bank’s quarterly business survey showed improvement in business conditions and confidence in most industries.

    On the ASX, wealth manager AMP reported the loss of another corporate superannuation account but says cash flow is better as investment markets solidify gains.

    “Business performance remained resilient during the first quarter,” boss Francesco De Ferrari said.

    Cashflows in the key wealth management arm are showing underlying signs of improvement, he added, pointing to a “reduction in outflows from corporate super mandates”.

    Shares were down 4.29 per cent to $1.11.

    AGL boss Brett Redman is leaving the energy provider after only last month starting efforts to create separate coal-fired power and clean energy businesses.

    The company said Mr Redman had resigned after two and a half years as CEO, effective immediately, as he could not commit beyond the proposed demerger.

    Shares were lower by 2.31 per cent to $8.85.

    Santos said first quarter oil production was down by two per cent on the previous quarter due to lower gas demand in Western Australia.

    Sales were up five per cent on the previous quarter to $964 million despite lower sales volumes.

    Shares were lower by 1.08 per cent to $6.86.

    Woodside also had a first quarter production update. Oil production dropped on the past quarter by 1.2 million barrels due to cyclone season.

    However sales rose by 22 per cent due to higher prices.

    Shares were down 1.41 per cent to $22.67.

    The big miners were lower despite the iron price being $US185 per tonne.

    Fortescue had the biggest loss, 1.57 per cent to $21.26.

    In banking, the Commonwealth rose 0.66 per cent to $88.75. The others in the big four were little changed.

    The Australian dollar was buying 77.53 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher from 77.14 US cents at Wednesday’s close.