Energy stocks help lift local shares

The share market has picked up ground in late trade to finish back around session highs in a rally led by energy stocks.

The All Ordinaries added 0.5 per cent to 4,382 while the ASX 200 gained 25 points to 4,361.

Oil and gas producers made solid gains helped by tensions in the Middle East threatening oil supplies.

Woodside added 1 per cent after it moved a step closer to getting its LNG processing plant at James Price Point - the West Australian Government has given the gas hub environmental approval, and it is now up to the Federal Government for a final tick.

Meanwhile, Santos shares added almost 4 per cent, as its chief executive David Knox reignited the debate over bringing in foreign workers into Australia, saying the skills shortage threatens the success of the sector.

Resource stocks were mixed, Rio Tinto lost a third of a per cent while BHP added almost 1 per cent.

Bank stocks came under pressure midway through the session giving up earlier gains - CBA, ANZ and Westpac all ended down, while NAB added 0.7 per cent.

Billabong shares jumped after the president of its American division expressed interest in launching an offer for the company.

Shares ended 10 per cent higher at 81 cents.

Shares in drilling services company Boart Longyear jumped after it announced it is moving manufacturing operations from Perth to Poland to cut costs, with investors pushing stocks up 8 per cent.

Just before 5:30pm AEST, the Australian dollar had chipped away at the greenback throughout trade, and was worth 103.7 US cents.

On the cross rates, it was at 81.2 euro cents, 65 British pence and 84.2 Japanese yen.

West Texas crude was higher at $US86.5 and Tapis was up $US2 a barrel to $US113, while spot gold had climbed to $US1,722 an ounce.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.9334+0.0007+0.07%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5560+0.0007+0.12%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6755+0.0003+0.05%
    AUDEUR=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg