Banks have powered the Australian share market higher by more than one per cent after the Morrison government flagged changes to credit laws that would help people obtain loans.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 83.5 points, or 1.42 per cent, to 5959.4 points at 1200 AEST on Friday.
The All Ordinaries index was up 78.7 points, or 1.29 per cent, to 6135.2.
The financial sector was 3.67 per cent higher in the wake of the proposed changes to the responsible lending laws.
Under the new rules, lenders will be able to rely on borrower-provided information unless there are reasonable grounds to suspect it is unreliable.
Borrowers will be made more accountable for providing accurate information to inform lending decisions, replacing the “lender beware” rules with a “borrower responsibility” principle.
The new regime is slated to come into place from March, provided the changes to credit laws pass parliament.
ANZ was higher by 5.15 per cent to $17.74, the Commonwealth rose 3.59 per cent to $66.51, NAB gained 6.51 per cent to $18.31 and Westpac was up 6.71 per cent to $17.47. Bendigo Bank had a 4.92 per cent rise to $6.39.
Also helping the banks is speculation of a rate cut next month.
The materials sector, which includes the miners, was higher by 1.47 per cent.
BHP lifted 1.92 per cent to $37.62, Rio Tinto was higher by 1.57 per cent to $98.72 and Fortescue edged up 0.34 per cent to $16.00.
The utilities sector was 1.25 per cent higher, energy was up 1.16 per cent and property better by 1.08 per cent.
Premier Investments, which owns retailers including Just Jeans, Peter Alexander and Portmans, has reported a 29 per cent rise in full-year profit aided by government subsidies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Online sales jumped 48.8 per cent to $220.4 million and made a sizeable contribution to the $137.8 million net profit after tax for the 12 months to July 25.
Premier, which also trades in Asia and Europe, temporarily shut its stores across the world on March 26 due to the pandemic and stood down about 9000 workers.
It used government subsidies in seven countries to retain workers.
Shares were down by 0.67 per cent to $19.00.
The share market has outstripped the lead given by US markets, which produced modest gains overnight.
Beaten-down technology stocks gained favour after data showed a surge in new home sales and revived faith in economic recovery, even as US jobless claims rose.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 52.31 points, or 0.20 per cent, to 26,815.44, the S&P 500 gained 9.67 points, or 0.30 per cent, to 3,246.59, and the Nasdaq Composite added 39.28 points, or 0.37 per cent, to 10,672.27.
The Australian dollar was buying 70.52 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher from 70.35 US cents after the close of trade on Thursday.