Share market up ahead of Wall St holiday

The Australian share market edged up to a 20-month high by the close of trade despite an impending public holiday on Wall Street.

Many investors were on the sidelines with few leads to go on as Wall Street will be closed tonight for the Martin Luther King holiday.

Investors will likely look to Tuesday's meeting of the Bank of Japan where it is expected to increase its asset purchasing program.

The All Ordinaries index added eight points or 0.2 per cent to 4,802, while the ASX 200 index gained six points to 4,778.

National Australia Bank's shares rose 1.9 per cent amid reports a Spanish bank may bid for NAB's loss-making UK operations.

The CBA and Westpac lost almost 0.5 per cent each, while ANZ turned around late in the session and added 0.4 per cent.

The major miners had an uneventful day with BHP Billiton managing to rise 0.1 per cent Rio Tinto added 0.2 per cent to $66.45 and Fortescue Metals also added 0.2 per cent.

Diversified miner and steel maker Arrium lost 4.4 per cent, while metal recycler Sims Metal Management's shares slumped 5 per cent on news it will have to write $60 million off the value of its UK recycling operations.

Sims identified potentially fraudulent accounting practices at that business and is investigating the matter.

Among the best performers were shares in the Ten Network which jumped 9.5 per cent.

Elsewhere in the media sector, Nine Entertainment's lenders have approved a $3.4 billion plan to recapitalise the company.

The ABC understands the plan for Nine's lenders to switch their debt for a stake in the company was voted on in Sydney today.

Around 5pm (AEDT) the Australian dollar was trading lower against most major currencies ahead of the Bank of Japan's policy meeting.

It was buying 105.09 US cents, 94.15 Japanese Yen, 78.4 euro cents and 66.22 British pence.

Spot gold was worth $US1,690 an ounce and West Texas Crude was steady at $US95.56 a barrel.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.9261-0.0027-0.29%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5512-0.0022-0.40%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6696-0.0025-0.37%
    AUDEUR=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg