Australian shares rose on Wednesday, supported by stronger industrial metals prices, with mining shares performing well on the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index.

The index rose 25 points or 0.3 per cent to 7,501.70 points, the highest closing level since April 21, 2022. The advance comes after Wall Street ended January on a positive note, with the S&P 500 index up 1.5 per cent.

On Wednesday in Australia, nine of 12 industry sectors posted gains. Real Estate or A-REIT shares lifted 1.4 per cent, leading gains.

Industrials and Materials stocks both rose 0.7 per cent. Shares of building products manufacturer James Hardie (JHX) lifted 4.3 per cent. Copper and gold producer Sandfire Resources (SFR) shares gained 3.7 per cent.

Energy shares were the biggest drag on the benchmark, down 1.2 per cent, as uranium explorer Paladin Energy (PDN) dropped 4.1 per cent.


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CSL (CSL) contributed most to the index gain, increasing 1.2 per cent.

Shares of Flight Centre (FLT) exited a trading halt, surging 8.1 per cent after the travel agency said it would buy British travel business Scott Dunn for $211 million. The company undertook a $180 million capital raising to fund the acquisition.

Credit Corp’s (CCP) shares rose 1.7 per cent after the debt collector maintained its FY23 profit guidance, despite its first half-year profit tumbling 30 per cent to $31.8 million.

Shares of toll road operator Atlas Arteria (ALX) lifted 2 per cent after its $632 million motorway network, APRR and AREA, located in the east of France was approved by the French government.

Agricultural chemicals company Nufarm (NUF) hosted an Annual General Meeting and re-affirmed its earnings outlook for FY23, but its share price fell 1.9 per cent.

Shares of fund manager Pinnacle Investment Management (PNI) shed 7.2 per cent following a broker downgrade, the biggest index drag.

On Wednesday, over 3.3 billion shares were traded, worth more than $7.7 billion. Overall, 726 stocks rose over the session, while 696 fell and 389 finished unchanged.

In the US on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve hands down its interest rate decision. The ADP employment report is released with construction spending data, JOLTS job openings figures and the S&P Global and ISM manufacturing indexes. Facebook-parent Meta Platforms is expected to report earnings.

Originally published by Ryan Felsman – Senior Economist (Author), CommSec