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Aust market lifts on bullish outlook

Trevor Chappell
AAP

The Australian share market has closed higher after investors started the new quarter in a bullish mood following a positive lead from the US and encouraging economic data from China.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 stock index finished Monday up 47.7 points, or 0.84 per cent, at 5,729.3 points, boosted by banking and mining stocks.

The local bourse followed a positive lead from markets in the US, where the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 0.11 per cent on Friday.

And an official survey released in China on Saturday showed factory activity expanded in September at the fastest pace in five years.

IG chief market strategist Chris Weston said trading volumes were well below the average on Monday because of the public holiday in NSW, but investors who were trading appeared to have a bullish outlook.

"It's a bit hard to say why everyone's decided to start the new quarter on a strong footing," Mr Weston said.

"For some reason, people have decided to bid up banks in a big way, and materials stocks."

Mr Weston said materials stocks rallied because the Chinese economic data was very strong.

"I think what we're seeing here today is further signs that the global economy is healing nicely," he said.

"Financials and materials are absolutely firing on all cylinders today, and it's not difficult in that environment for our market to rally."

Locally, mining heavyweights BHP Billiton was up 1.3 per cent to $26.12, Rio Tinto added 2.2 per cent to $68.00, and Fortescue Metals gained 1.7 per cent at $5.23.

In the energy sector, oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum advanced 0.7 per cent to $4.05, Santos improved 0.7 per cent to $4.05, and Oil Search found 1.4 per cent at $7.10 after oil prices continued to trend higher on geopolitical instability in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Beach Energy surged 12.1 per cent to 91 cents after the Kerry Stokes-backed explorer registered strong interest from institutional investors for its rights share issue to fund the acquisition of Lattice Energy

Among the big four banks, ANZ rose one per cent to $29.90, Westpac was up 1.1 per cent at $32.26, National Australia Bank ascended 0.7 per cent to $31.73, and Commonwealth Bank stepped forward 1.4 per cent to $76.34.

Among other stocks, construction giant CIMIC was up 0.2 per cent to $44.28 after its UGL unit won a contract to build the first stage of the 110 megawatts Bannerton solar park in Victoria.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar dropped against the US dollar in afternoon trading as the greenback broadly strengthens.

The Aussie was trading at 78.20 US cents at 1700 AEDT on Monday, from 78.40 US cents on Friday.

ON THE ASX:

* At 1630 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 47.7 points, or 0.84 per cent, at 5,729.3 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 46.4 points, or 0.81 per cent, at 5,791.3 points.

* The SPI200 futures contract was up 44 points, or 0.78 per cent, at 5,712 points.

* National turnover was 2.3 billion securities traded worth $3.3 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 78.20 US cents, from 78.40 US cents on Friday

* 88.26 Japanese yen, from 88.34 yen

* 66.47 euro cents, from 66.49 euro cents

* 58.53 British pence, from 58.46 pence

* 108.71 NZ cents, from 108.68 cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,273.99 per fine ounce, from $US1,287.05 per fine ounce on Friday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.0392pct, from 2.0355pct

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.7943pct, from 2.7852pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* December 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.10 (implying a yield of 2.90pct), from 97.13 (2.87pct) on Friday

* December 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 97.79 (2.21 pct), from 97.81 (2.19pct).

(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)