Australia Markets closed

Energy, resource stocks boost Aust shares

The Australian share market continues to gain ground, led by energy and resource companies on the back of higher commodity prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 0.27 per cent at 5,635.8 points at 1200 AEDT, shrugging off falls on the Dow Jones Industrial Average index, most major European equity markets and Japan's Nikkei.

Energy giant Woodside Petroleum jumped 51 cents, or 1.62 per cent, to $32.07, buoyed by higher oil prices due to a weaker US dollar and OPEC's output cut.

Oil Search and Orgin Energy also found support among investors.

Mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton rose 49 cents to $67.17 and 34 cents to $29.68, respectively, as iron ore hovers above $US83.00 and copper and gold prices rise.

Australia's heavyweight financial sector was mixed, with National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ slightly lower. Westpac and insurers Suncorp and QBE found support from investors.

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.54 per cent following disappointing earnings and weak consumer confidence data, while the S&P500 and Nasdaq were flat.

The Australian dollar is slightly higher against the US dollar, at 75.73 US cents, from 75.63 US cents, at Tuesday's close.

ON THE ASX:

* At 1200 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 14.9 points, or 0.27 per cent, at 5,635.8 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 13 points, or 0.23 per cent, at 5,688 points.

* The March SPI200 futures contract was up 26 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 5,581 points with 15,773 contracts traded.

* National turnover was 1.36 billion securities traded worth $2.07 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 75.73 US cents, from 75.63 US cents on Tuesday

* 85.50 Japanese yen, from 85.83 yen

* 70.14 euro cents, from 70.68 euro cents

* 60.19 British pence, from 60.44 pence

* 103.86 New Zealand cents, from 103.69 NZ cents

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:

* CGS 5.25 per cent March 2019, 1.784pct, up from 1.780pct

* CGS 4.25pct April 2026, 2.661pct, up from 2.646pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.240 (implying a yield of 2.760pct), from 97.225 (2.775pct) on Tuesday

* March 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.060 (1.940pct), from 98.070 (1.930pct).

(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEDT previous local session, bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session)