Aust market opens higher

The Australian stock market has opened higher thanks to strong gains in the US and Europe overnight.

OptionsXpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said the gains were spread across the market at the start of trade on Friday.

"We've come out of the blocks nice and strongly, with all spaces in the green," he said.

"That's coming off a very strong performance from European and US equities markets overnight."

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished more than one per cent higher overnight, while Germany's DAX30 gained 1.8 per cent.

Mining giant BHP Billiton gained 24 cents to $32.21, while Rio Tinto lifted 34 cents to $58.04 and Fortescue Metals slipped one cent to $2.29.

Among the big four banks, the Commonwealth was up 66 cents to $84.28, Westpac lifted eight cents to $33.11 and ANZ gained 30 cents to $33.32 while National Australia Bank lost 74 cents to $34.75 after going ex-dividend.

Shares in grocery wholesaler Metcash were 12 cents, or almost 10 per cent, higher after it said it was considering spinning off its automotive division, which includes the Autobarn, Autopro and Midas brands.

Amcom Telecommunications shares were up eight cents, or more than three per cent, after Vocus Communications sold its 10 per cent stake in the company in a move it hoped would give a planned merger the best chance of success.

KEY FACTS

* At 1030 AEST on Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 33.1 points, or 0.58 per cent, higher at 5,729.7.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 32.6 points, or 0.57 per cent, at 5,725.1.

* The March share price index futures contract was 51 points higher at 5,738, with 8,180 contracts traded.

* National turnover was 372 million securities worth $757 million.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.78230.000.00%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.50500.000.00%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.71030.000.00%
    AUDEUR=X