Market holds gains despite weak economic data

The Australian share market held onto gains today despite the release of weak economic data on the domestic economy.

Readings on the ANZ's job advertisements report in December and housing finance for owner occupiers in November both fell, and analysts say investors are waiting for leads from the United States company reporting season which resumes tonight.

By the close the All Ordinaries index added 12 points to 4,746 while the ASX 200 index gained 10 points to 4,720.

Mining stocks continued to pull back after commodity prices for the likes of copper and iron ore fell over the weekend, with BHP Billiton off 0.3 per cent.

Bluescope Steel also slipped 0.3 per cent after the company announced 170 jobs were set to its Western Port operations on the Mornington Peninsula in a bid to remain competitive.

The company's rival Arrium, once known as OneSteel, added 3 per cent while Rio Tinto had a 0.1 per cent gain to $65.86.

The US terms of trade data was positive for Australian retailers, having showed demand for consumer goods which rose to record levels in November.

JB Hi-Fi jumped 2 per cent and David Jones was 0.4 per cent stronger.

Aluminium producer Alumina continued to rise, up 3.2 per cent on the back of a positive earnings numbers from its US partner Alcoa last week.

In the financial sector, investors moved out of Westpac after the stock rose 10 per cent in the past two months.

Money instead flowed into NAB and the Commonwealth Bank, both up between 0.4 and 0.6 per cent.

Defensive stocks outperformed the market for much of the day; by the close, Telstra added 0.2 of a per cent to $4.59.

The Ten Network jumped 6.5 per cent among the top performers in the ASX 200, while construction company UGL was among the worst, off 3.4 per cent.

In currency trade, the Australian advanced against the greenback and was buying 105.56 US cents about 5pm (AEDT).

It was also buying 78.84 euro cents, 65.2 British pence and $NZ1.255.

West Texas crude oil was $US93.60 a barrel and the spot gold price was at $US1,665.50 cents an ounce.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.9286-0.0079-0.85%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5534-0.0033-0.59%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6721-0.0063-0.93%
    AUDEUR=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg