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Aust shares hit highest level since March

Steven Deare
·4-min read

Australia's share market reached its highest level since the coronavirus pandemic took hold in March and finished higher for the seventh consecutive session.

After a good US lead, the S&P/ASX200 benchmark index finished up by 63.7 points, or 1.04 per cent, to 6195.7 on Tuesday.

Earlier, the index rose above 6200, a level it had not breached since March, and reached a session high of 6214.7.

The All Ordinaries index ended better by 57.1 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 6400.2.

Deep Data Analytics chief executive Mathan Somasundaram believed the momentum came from global investors having more certainty over the US election result on November 3, and economic stimulus.

Democrat Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump in the polls, while hope remains the government will inject financial stimulus into the coronavirus-battered economy.

Mr Somasundaram has seen a substantial increase in margin lending helping US equities in recent weeks, and investors buying growth stocks.

"I think the market wants to go up, and it's going up," he said.

"Investors are betting someone will save them, either the central bank, or that the US government will put stimulus in."

He said while the US momentum continued, the Aussie market would follow.

Locally, Australians appear to have backed the budget and its tax cuts.

The latest weekly consumer confidence reading rose for a sixth consecutive week to stand at its highest level since May.

Meanwhile, Australia's trade minister is investigating reports China has suspended lucrative imports of Australian coal.

Chinese steel mills and power plants have reportedly been told to stop using Australian coking and thermal coal.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham confirmed there had been some disruptions to shipments of coal into China, but said there was no evidence of an import ban.

Materials was the only ASX sector to end lower, down 0.27 per cent. BHP was down by 0.36 per cent to $36.31, Rio Tinto slid by 0.09 per cent to $96.55 while Fortescue fell by 1.42 per cent to $16.62.

The top sector was telecommunications, higher by 2.24 per cent.

Telstra had a gain of 3.96 per cent to $2.89 after chair John Mullen told its annual general meeting the board wants to ensure investors' payout is not cut.

The board is prepared to waiver some rules to maintain the full-year 16 cents per share payout.

The financials sector also had a great session, higher by 1.72 per cent.

Commonwealth Bank boss Matt Comyn told its annual general meeting the bank's strong capital position is helping deal with a range of scenarios as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

Its shares were up 1.12 per cent to $69.38. Among main rivals, ANZ was better by 2.74 per cent to $19.50, NAB gained 1.9 per cent to $19.35 and Westpac rose by 2.21 per cent to $18.96.

Information technology had a 1.56 per cent improvement after the Nasdaq gained 2.6 per cent.

Afterpay reached a record price of $94.46. Its shares finished 2.67 per cent higher to $94.46.

Wall Street's positive finish came after investors there bought technology stocks ahead of quarterly earnings, while expectations of economic stimulus from government remained.

The Aussie dollar was buying 71.87 US cents at 1722 AEDT, lower from 72.32 US cents at the close of trade on Monday.


* The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index finished up by 63.7 points, or 1.04 per cent, to 6195.7 on Tuesday.

* The All Ordinaries index ended better by 57.1 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 6400.2.

* At 1722 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was lower by 1.0 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 6202.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 71.87 US cents, from 72.31 US cents on Monday

* 75.71 Japanese yen, from 76.25 yen

* 60.92 Euro cents, from 61.17 cents

* 55.05 British pence, from 55.41 pence

* 108.03 NZ cents, from 108.46 cents.