Australia Markets closed

Fresh closing high for Aussie share market

Derek Rose
The futures market is pointing to a slight rise for the ASX at the start of trade

The Australian share market has set a fresh all-time closing peak but narrowly missed eclipsing its all-time intraday high set on Friday.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index slumped in the final minutes of trading to finish Monday up 16.3 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 6,862.3 points, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 17.3 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 6,965.3 points.

The US futures market was predicting stocks there were set to rise 0.2 per cent, helping to sustain last week's momentum, said Burman Investments portfolio manager Julia Lee.

CSL set another all-time high, gaining 0.9 per cent to $286.10, having gained 54.5 per cent since the start of the year.

"The stock that just keeps on giving," Me Lee said of the blood products company, Australia's third-largest public corporation.

Overall the health care sector rose 0.8 per cent, biotech Opthea gaining 15.8 per cent after raising $50 million in an institutional placement to fund trials of its eye disease drug, while Noxopharm climbed 13.9 per cent after its prostate cancer suppository showed promise in a small clinical trial.

Fortescue Metals rose 3.0 per cent to $10.02 - breaking the $10 mark for the first time since the stock went parabolic in 2008.

Diversified mining giant BHP gained 0.2 per cent to $38.31 while Rio Tinto was up 0.6 per cent to $97.52.

Goldminers Evolution and Northern Star rose 2.6 per cent and 2.4 per cent, respectively, but Newcrest fell 2.8 per cent after announcing new drilling results at its Havieron project in WA.

In the banking sector, Commonwealth Bank rose 0.8 per cent to $81.43, ANZ rose 0.6 per cent to $24.99, NAB rose a single cent to $25.90 and Westpac climbed 0.3 per cent to $24.60.

The energy sector suffered the largest losses, dropping 0.5 per cent after the price of oil slumped, with Woodside Petroleum down 0.8 per cent, Oil Search falling 1.9 per cent and Santos down 0.6 per cent.

Tech stocks were up 0.2 per cent as a whole, with Afterpay falling 1.4 per cent and prepaid card company EML Payments down 3.2 per cent, while circuit board software company Altium gained 3.4 per cent and Xero rose 1.3 per cent.

Nut grower Select Harvest rose 5.8 per cent to a four-year high of $8.19 following Friday's announcement of a bumper almond crop.

Amaysim rose 10.3 per cent after announcing it was buying rival virtual network operator Jeenee Mobile for $7.8 million.

Utility stocks were the largest gainers, rising 1.1 per cent, with APA Group climbing 2.6 per cent and Genesis Energy rising 3.0 per cent.

The Aussie dollar is buying 67.76 US cents from 67.64 US cents on Friday.

Looking forward, the Reserve Bank is widely expected to leave the cash rate unchanged at its last meeting of the year on Tuesday, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics will report gross domestic product figures on Wednesday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 16.3 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 6,862.3 points.

* The All Ordinaries closed up 17.3 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 6,965.3 points.

* The SPI200 futures index closed up 11 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 6,867.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 67.75 US cents, from 67.74 US cents on Friday

* 74.29 Japanese yen, from 74.17 yen

* 61.49 euro cents, from 61.52 cents

* 52.46 British pence, from 52.44 pence

* 105.07 NZ cents, from 105.47 cents.