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ASX led by New York North Star

AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY
Materials and financials were the strongest performers on the ASX Thursday. Picture: NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

Takeover speculation for an Aussie gas giant and a positive Chinese building outlook have spurred on the ASX, riding a wave of positive gains from Wall Street.

Nine of the 11 ASX sectors finished in the green Thursday, with mining and construction materials the big winner.

Hundreds of China’s key bureaucrats, military chiefs, provincial bosses and academics will meet later this month for decade-setting policy meetings. US bank Citi expects renewables and grid investments from the meetings to lift copper prices.

QLD ELECTION
Copper stocks lifted Thursday. Picture: NewsWire / Dan Peled

Large Australian copper player Sandfire Resources took a cue, gaining 3.53 per cent to close at $9.10 on Thursday afternoon. Sandfire is up more than 50 per cent on the year.

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Gold and copper both rose overnight, and gold-copper explorer WA1 Resources had a huge day on the market, closing at $21.28 after an 11 per cent gain.

Capstone Copper Corp picked up five per cent, finishing at $11.26.

As a whole, the ASX200 materials sector gained 2.29 per cent. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 rose 1.19 per cent on the day, picking up 91 points to 7,831.80.

China's Standing Committee Members Of The 20th CPC Central Committee Meet With Press
A key meeting of Chinese decision makers later this moth has given confidence to some investors in the Australian resources market. Picture: Kevin Frayer / Getty Images

Westpac senior economist Pat Bustamante said key commodities, including iron ore, increased to their highest levels in almost a month.

“This comes on the back of growing expectations that the Chinese authorities could announce further stimulus to support the property sector following the set of meetings scheduled for mid-July (known as the Third Plenum),” Mr Bustamante said.

BHP hit a four-week high of $44.77 (up 2.5 per cent) as iron ore futures hit matching four-week highs.

That is despite the latest ABS data showing Australia’s trade surplus fell as Chinese demand for iron ore and other metals remained sluggish.

Renewable Energy Power Plant Built In Zhangjiakou
Energy networks need copper. Picture: VCG

Overnight the S&P500 and Nasdaq both closed at record highs. It is the S&P500’s 33rd record closing high this year.

The Australian dollar reached its highest level since January versus the US dollar, buying 67.1 cents when markets closed.

“The biggest theme is that the local market followed the lead from the US and European markets overnight, which were buoyed by the release of economic data that supported the case for rate cuts in the US,” Mr Bustamante said.

After Reserve Bank board minutes spooked the real estate sector earlier in the week, investors in the market subdivision saw healthier returns Thursday.

SANTOS AGM
Santos’ share price rose steeply on Thursday. Picture: NewsWire / RoyVphotography

The ASX200 real estate sector was the second best performer, gaining 1.41 per cent.

Small-cap Desane, which has residential projects in Sydney’s Leichhardt, was the day’s big mover, gaining 4.4 per cent to $0.95.

Office space purveyor Servcorp took a hit, giving back good gains from earlier in the week, shedding 3.8 per cent to $4.23.

Energy was one of four sectors to gain more than one per cent growth Thursday, with gas heavyweight Santos near the front.

Santos jumped 4.2 per cent to $8.00, after Bloomberg reported Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co were interested in takeover bids for the LNG producer.