Mining shares were booming and keeping Australia’s market slightly higher after a major Brazilian iron ore miner said it will miss production targets.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 20.4 points, or 0.30 per cent, to 6610.6 at 1200 AEDT on Thursday, after US markets had mixed results.
The ASX200 reached a session high of 6626.8 in the first hour before easing.
The All Ordinaries was higher by 29.7 points, or 0.43 per cent, to 6841.0.
The materials sector, which includes miners, was higher by 2.98 per cent after Brazilian iron ore miner Vale said it would miss its production forecast of at least 310 million tonnes of iron ore this year.
Vale also said it expected 2021 output in a range between 315 million to 335 million tonnes, less than what analysts had been expecting.
The report means more opportunity for Australia’s iron ore miners, which are already enjoying strong demand from Chinese steel makers.
Fortescue Metals jumped to a record price of $20.42, then eased to be 11.6 per cent higher to $20.34
BHP rose 3.63 per cent to $40.74 and Rio Tinto gained 4.42 per cent to $109.64.
The only other sector higher was energy, up 1.54 per cent.
Meanwhile a spread of new data shows the economy has entered the final months of 2020 in positive shape with exports rebounding, home loans at record levels and construction activity at a two-year high.
The monthly trade surplus grew to $7.5 billion from $5.8 billion in October, buoyed by a larger-than-expected five per cent jump in exports.
Other Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed the value of home loans for owner-occupiers in October rose 0.8 per cent to a record high $17.4 billion, to be more than 30 per cent higher than a year earlier.
House building helped the Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association performance of construction index rise by 2.6 points to 55.3 in November.
Qantas boss Alan Joyce expects the number of people flying overseas will not improve until mid-next year, when a significant part of the world’s population has been vaccinated for the coronavirus.
The United Kingdom has become the first to approve Pfizer’s vaccine, which will be distributed from next week, while the US could approve two vaccines before Christmas.
Qantas executives expects domestic capacity will be back up to almost 70 per cent of pre-COVID levels in December and close to 80 per cent by the end of March.
Shares were higher by 0.18 per cent to $5.56.
The big four banks, as well as Macquarie, were all lower by less than one per cent.
In the US earlier, investors weighed upbeat vaccine developments and a potential coronavirus fiscal package against a bleak private jobs report.
President-elect Joe Biden told the New York Times getting a generous stimulus package through Congress was a top priority.
Data showed private payrolls increased less than expected in November as soaring infections and business restrictions hampered the labor market’s recovery.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2 per cent to end at 29,883.79 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.18 per cent at 3,669.01. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.05 per cent to 12,349.37.
The Aussie dollar was buying 73.99 US cents at 1200 AEDT, higher from 73.67 US cents at Wednesday’s close.