Market makes solid gains but dollar slides

The Australian dollar has continued its slide against the greenback today, as the local share market posted solid gains on the back of confidence on overseas markets.

The Australian dollar has now fallen nearly one cent from where it was trading before the Reserve Bank announced it was keeping the official interest rate on hold yesterday.

The All Ordinaries index finished today's session 38 points higher, or 0.8 per cent, at 4,941.

The ASX 200 index also gained 38 points to close at 4,921.

Retailers surprisingly posted solid gains, despite official figures revealing that retail trade unexpectedly fell 0.2 per cent in December.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics says the "other retailing" category, including books, fell the most and food retailers, restaurants and cafes also went backwards.

Woolworths rose 2.75 per cent while the owner of rival Coles, Wesfarmers, gained 1 per cent.

JB Hi-Fi closed 5 per cent higher, David Jones picked up 3.7 per cent and department store Myer rose 1.6 per cent.

The big four banks all gained ground, led by a 1.5 per cent rise for ANZ.

Rio Tinto closed 1.1 per cent higher and mining rival BHP Billiton went up by 0.9 per cent.

Seven West Media rose 8.5 per cent but the Ten Network fell 3.1 per cent.

Telstra slipped 0.9 per cent and hearing implant company Cochlear dropped 4 per cent.

Local airlines gained ground, led by a 4.7 per cent rise for Virgin Australia.

Qantas closed 0.7 per cent higher as the airline's boss Alan Joyce told a tourism lunch in Sydney the continuing high Australian dollar should not be used as an excuse for not attracting overseas visitors.

In commodities, spot gold had weakened to $US1,674 an ounce.

West Texas intermediate crude oil was up slightly to $US96.64 a barrel, but Tapis crude in Singapore slipped to $US122.36 a barrel.

At 5:30pm AEDT, the Australian dollar was buying around $US103.54, 76.34 euro cents, 66.14 British pence, 97.08 Japanese yen and 122.65 New Zealand cents.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.9274-0.0091-0.97%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5517-0.0049-0.89%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6711-0.0073-1.08%
    AUDEUR=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg