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Local share market highest since June


The Australian share market has reached its highest level since June, led by a strong healthcare sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up by 0.1 per cent to 5,800.1 points at 1200 AEDT on Friday.

NIB Holdings grew 0.67 per cent to $6.05 while Medibank Private rose 2.14 per cent to $3.11 after the federal government announced plans to release a raft of proposed health insurance changes, promising Australians cheaper premiums and easier access to mental healthcare.

The financial sector was flat, with all four big banks barely moved.

ANZ and Westpac were each up about 0.1 per cent, National Australia Bank was flat, and Commonwealth Bank was about 0.1 per cent lower after announcing it will remove financial incentives for selling products from bank teller bonuses.

Despite a fall in iron ore prices overnight, mining stocks were stronger, with BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto both up 0.7 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively.

However, energy shares were mostly lower, following a slip in oil prices after the US Energy Department reported a larger-than-expected decline in US inventories and a fall-off in weekly production.

Woodside, Santos and Oil Search were down between 0.1 per cent and 0.3 per cent.

The Australian dollar was flat against its US counterpart, worth 78.37 US cents, up just slightly from 78.21 US cents on Thursday.


* At 1200 AEDT the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 5.6 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 5,800.1 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was 7.7 points, or 0.13 per cent, higher at 5,871.8 points.

* The SPI200 futures contract was up 14 points, or 0.24 per cent, at 5,782 points.

* National turnover was 1.31 billion securities traded worth $1.64 billion.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 78.36 US cents, from 78.21 US cents on Thursday

* 87.92 Japanese yen, from 87.81 yen

* 66.17 euro cents, from 65.84 euro cents

* 59.06 British pence, from 58.98 pence

* 109.84 NZ cents, from 109.93 NZ cents


The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1200 AEDT was $US1,294.14 per fine ounce, from $US1,296.18 per fine ounce on Thursday.


* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.0005pct, from 2.0095pct on Thursday

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.7342pct, from 2.7528pct


* December 2017 10-year bond futures contract was at 97.180 (implying a yield of 2.820pct) from 97.170 (2.830pct) on Thursday

* December 2017 3-year bond futures contract was at 97.85 (2.15pct), unchanged.

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