Miners help share market to strong close

The Australian share market has closed at another near 17-month high, supported by gains in health, energy and mining stocks.

The All Ordinaries rose a 0.25 per cent to close on 4,592, while the ASX 200 added 0.2 per cent to 4,584.

Investors were heartened by comments overnight from US house speaker John Boehner, who said he was hopeful there would be a resolution to the country's budget deadlock by the end of the year.

Shares in Australia's major miners were again boosted by another rise in the iron ore price; it is now at nearly $US125, a four-and-a-half-month high.

Rio Tinto rose 0.7 per cent and Fortescue Metals gained 1.7 per cent, while BHP Billiton shares rose 1 per cent to $35.76.

BHP announced it was off the West Australian coast to China's largest oil and gas producer, PetroChina, for around $1.6 billion.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

The big four banks all reversed - ANZ had the largest fall, down three-quarters of a per cent.

Shares in Echo Entertainment jumped 3.25 per cent to $3.52 after the casino operator named a .

Mr Redmond is the former chief of US gaming giant MGM Grand and will step into the role next month.

Meanwhile, the this month, erasing most of last month's sharp rise.

That is despite the Reserve Bank lowering the official interest rate in December and a fall in unemployment.

Spot gold closed slightly lower at $US1,711 an ounce, while West Texas crude oil was relatively flat at $US85.40 a barrel and Tapis crude was slightly higher at $US113.15 a barrel.

The Australian dollar was higher against most major currencies amid expectations the US federal reserve will announce new stimulus measures tomorrow.

Around 5pm (AEDT) the dollar was buying 105.3 US cents, 81 euro cents, 87.06 Japanese yen and 65.4 British pence.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.9281-0.0084-0.89%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5526-0.0041-0.73%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6706-0.0078-1.15%
    AUDEUR=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg