Aust shares edge higher

The Australian share market has held onto a slim gain as investors wonder how the US political landscape will change under Donald Trump when he assumes the presidency.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished 0.2 per cent higher after shares dropped in early trade, following in the wake of US shares which fell as investors sought clarity on the impact of President-elect Donald Trump on markets.

Phillip Capital senior client advisor Michael Heffernan said the local bourse had recovered from a poor start to trading but had flattened out over the afternoon.

"It (the market) is pretty feckless really - it doesn't quite know what to do," Mr Heffernan said.

"Trump was bad, then he was good - that lasted for a while."

Mr Heffernan said although the market was still pondering Mr Trump's future policies, it had been boosted by positive news from Telstra, with the telco confirming its financial guidance for 2017 and signalling cost cuts.

Telstra was one of the best performers. The telco lifted 12 cents, or 2.5 per cent, to $4.84 as it said it would cut costs by at least $1 billion over the next five years and undertake a review of its capital management including shareholder returns.

In the resources sector, global miner BHP Billiton gained eight cents to $24.06 as chief executive Andrew Mackenzie underlined the uncertainty of the timing of a potential restart at its Samarco joint venture operation in Brazil.

Rio Tinto rose 65 cents to $57.59, and Fortescue Metals dipped three cents to $5.83.

Among the major banks, Commonwealth Bank was 24 cents weaker at $76.65, National Australia Bank reversed five cents to $28.35, ANZ slipped three cents to $27.95, and Westpac gave away 15 cents to close at $30.83.

Among other stocks, Village Roadshow dropped 24 cents, or 4.9 per cent, to $4.68. The entertainment group told its AGM visitor numbers have fallen at its Gold Coast theme parks following the fatal accident at rival Ardent Leisure-owned Dreamworld last month.

Building products supplier James Hardie jumped 89 cents, or 4.56 per cent, to $20.40 despite downgraded expectations for its full-year adjusted net operating profit.

KEY FACTS:

* At 1631 AEDT on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was up 10.8 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 5,338.5 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 9.3 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 5,408.9 points.

* The December share price index futures contract was up 18 points to 5,338 points, with 33,918 contracts traded.

* National turnover was 2.6 billion securities traded, worth $6.3 billion.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.7447-0.0007-0.09%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5924-0.0004-0.07%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.7059+0.0036+0.51%
    AUDEUR=X