Local market buoyed by US optimism

The share market has closed at a fresh 19-month high, lifted by more gains in mining shares and continued optimism about the US budget deal struck yesterday.

Overnight, Wall Street had its best day in more than a year, while in London the FTSE 100 index jumped 2.2 per cent.

Australian stocks today followed suit - the All Ordinaries index rose by 0.8 per cent to close at 4,761.

The ASX 200, meanwhile, advanced by three quarters of a per cent to 4,741.

A jump in metals prices helped resources stocks; gold miner Newcrest finished 3.1 per cent higher at $23.70 and Rio Tinto gained 2.4 per cent to $69.25.

Commodity analysts say the price of iron ore is unlikely to plunge back to the levels it hit last September, as there is more optimism about China's economic prospects.

Iron ore prices dropped to $US87 a tonne in September but are back up around $US145 a tonne.

Bank stocks were also in demand; the Commonwealth Bank at an all-time high up 0.8 per cent to $63.24.

The remaining big four also rose; NAB gained 0.6 per cent, and ANZ and Westpac both rose by a third of a per cent.

Aviation stocks soared; Qantas jumped 2.7 per cent and Virgin Australia gained 2.3 per cent to close at 44 cents.

The ACCC has indicated it has reservations about Virgin's plan to merge with Tiger Airways Australia.

Two months ago, Virgin announced it had acquired 60 per cent of the loss-making Tiger from its Singapore-based parent company.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims says the regulator's decision is complicated, as the deal will effectively remove the third player from Australia's domestic aviation market.

Telstra, meanwhile, is at a new four-year-and-four-month high, adding 0.9 per cent to $4.48.

In currency trade, the Australian dollar slipped back from its overnight surge.

It was the best performer among major currencies, as the US budget deal boosted prospects for the global economy.

About 5pm (AEDT) it was buying 104.9 US cents, 79.8 euro cents, 91.5 Japanese yen and 64.6 British pence.

Spot gold was strong at $US1,687 an ounce, West Texas crude oil was trading at $US93.15 a barrel, and Tapis crude was higher at $US118.70 a barrel.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.9327-0.0005-0.06%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5552-0.0003-0.05%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6752-0.0003-0.05%
    AUDEUR=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg