Local shares close higher but dollar slides

Positive trade data out of China has helped the local share market close 0.7 per cent higher, but it could not stop the Australian dollar's continued slide against the greenback.

The All Ordinaries index finished the session up 34 points at 4,989 while the ASX 200 index gained 36 points to 4,971.

The trade data for China far exceeded analyst expectations, with export growth of 25 per cent last year.

Miners were among those to benefit; Rio Tinto rose 1.3 per cent, BHP Billiton 0.8 per cent and Fortescue Metals Group 1.4 per cent.

Gold miner Newcrest gained more than 5 per cent after releasing its half yearly results, even though they revealed net profit fell by 51 per cent.

Newcrest reported a statutory profit of $320 million, down from $659 million, but that was still better than what analysts had been expecting.

The major banks all finished higher, led by a 2.2 per cent rise for ANZ.

NAB closed 1.4 per cent higher, Westpac rose 0.4 per cent and the Commonwealth 0.2 per cent.

Retailers posted some solid gains, led by a rise of 3.8 per cent for Harvey Norman and 1.2 per cent for Myer.

Surfwear retailer Billabong could not catch the wave though, falling 2 per cent.

Qantas rose 1.3 per cent but airline rival Virgin Australia closed 1.2 per cent lower.

The Australian dollar slid closer to parity with the greenback after the Reserve Bank released its latest statement on monetary policy.

The RBA has downgraded its forecast for economic growth to 2.5 per cent this year.

The local dollar fell back at the news but recovered some ground through the afternoon to be worth around 102.96 US cents around 5pm (AEDT).

The dollar was also buying around 76.84 euro cents, 65.48 British pence, 96.06 Japanese yen and 123.15 New Zealand cents.

West Texas intermediate crude oil was selling for around $US95.83 cents a barrel, Tapis crude oil in Singapore was around $US123.77 cents a barrel, and spot gold slipped a little to $US1,672 an ounce.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.9285-0.008-0.85%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5534-0.0032-0.58%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6721-0.0063-0.93%
    AUDEUR=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg