Australia Markets closed

Aust stocks up on rate cut expectations

The Australian share market finished half a per cent higher as investors were buoyed by encouraging data about Chinese manufacturing and expectations of an interest rate cut by the local central bank.

At the close on Monday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 25.5 points, or 0.57 per cent, higher at 4,531.5, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 22 points, or 0.49 per cent, at 4,540.0.

On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was 28 points higher at 4,544, with 24,541 contracts traded.

CommSec analyst Juliette Saly said investors shrugged off weak Australian retail figures and instead bought into local stocks after the release of encouraging data on the weekend that showed a further improvement in Chinese manufacturing activity.

"Our market's taken that lead and we've seen some good buying coming through today," Ms Saly said.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed retail spending was steady in October, below expectations of a 0.4 per cent rise.

The weaker retail figure added to expectations the Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to cut the cash rate by 0.25 percentage points to 3.00 per cent when its board meets on Tuesday for the last time until February 2013.

"Retail trade figures were disappointing but we've seen the market bounce back from the initial shock," Ms Saly said.

"News that we're expecting a rate cut tomorrow will help sentiment."

Among the major retailers, JB Hi-Fi gained 33 cents to $10.26, Wesfarmers was 40 cents higher at $35.95 and Woolworths rose 15 cents to $29.43.

Department store operator David Jones fell five cents to $2.44 and Myer shares fell four cents to $2.13.

Among the big miners, BHP Billiton was up 15 cents to $34.54, Rio Tinto fell 21 cents to $58.54 and Fortescue dipped 15 cents to $3.76.

Among the banks, ANZ jumped 33 cents to $24.69, Commonwealth Bank surged $1.12 cents to $60.81, while National Australia Bank was one cent lower at $24.29 and Westpac was six cents higher at $25.56.

Ten Network shares fell three cents to 33.5 cents.

National turnover was 1.47 billion securities worth $3.71 billion, with 476 stocks up, 473 down and 350 unchanged.