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Aust shares close higher as tensions ease

Christian Edwards
AAP

The Australian share market has closed higher, after Wall Street rose on easing US-Russia tensions over Syria.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 13.6 points, 0.23 per cent, at 5,829.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 13.3 points, or 0.22 per cent, at 5,924.7 points.

For the week the S&P/ASX200 gained 0.7 per cent and the All Ords 0.6 per cent.

Macquarie Private Wealth division director Lucinda Chan said the market played catch-up after offshore gains during a volatile week.

"We are following suit but volatility will remain given the current tremendous global macro issues," Ms Chan said.

Wall Street lifted overnight on tech and bank stocks and the US dollar moved toward a five-week high after the US President tweeted that a military strike on Syria may not be as imminent as previously threatened and as investors looked forward to a bumper corporate earnings season.

AMP chief economist Shane Oliver said consensus expectations of a 17 per cent year-on-year rise in quarterly profit for S&P 500 stocks could be "too conservative" given that new US tax cuts could lift profits by up to 20 per cent.

Ms Chan said a rise of that magnitude could prompt aggressive US rate hikes.

"And that could dampen profit expectations out of our markets... recent sell-offs are a timely reminder to all of us that volatility remains and will be a key feature in this market for a while," Ms Chan said.

In local news, free-to-air broadcaster Seven West Media was the big mover, climbing 6.5 cents, or 12.6 per cent, to 58 cents after winning Australian cricket broadcast rights in a $1.2 billion, six-year joint bid with pay-TV operator Foxtel.

Nine Entertainment ended flat at $2.25 after losing the sport it has broadcast for four decades.

Rio Tinto led gains among the miners, up two per cent to $78.21, as iron ore futures gained ground.

BHP Billiton rose 0.3 per cent to $29.73 and Fortescue Metals added two per cent, to $4.54.

Shares in the bauxite miner and aluminium producer Alumina, were up 2.8 per cent to $2.59 as sanctions against Russian aluminium giant Rusal continued to help push aluminium prices on to five year highs.

In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum dropped 0.5 per cent to $30.32, Santos fell one per cent to $5.91, and Oil Search improved 0.4 per cent to $7.62, after oil prices retreated slightly from near-2014 highs after the Trump missile threats towards Syria were walked back.

The major lenders were mixed with ANZ down 0.4 per cent to $26.71, Westpac losing 0.2 per cent to $28.89 and National Australia Bank dropping 0.7 per cent to $28.52.

Commonwealth Bank gained 0.1 per cent to $73.16 as it was announced the bank's financial advice arm would pay $3 million in penalties for failing to provide advice to customers who had been charged for the service.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has gained against the US dollar and at 1630 AEST on Friday, the local currency was worth 77.93 US cents, up from 77.48 US cents on Thursday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 13.6 points, or 0.23 per cent, at 5,829.1 points

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 13.3 points, or 0.22 per cent, at 5,924.7 points

* The SPI200 futures contract was up 19 points, or 0.33 per cent, at 5,816 points

* National turnover was 3.1 billion securities traded worth $4.8 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 77.9 US cents, from 77.48 on Thursday

* 83.82 Japanese yen, from 82.81 yen

* 63.22 euro cents, from 62.69 euro cents

* 54.67 British pence, from 54.64 pence

* 105.45 NZ cents, from 105.10 cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,337.048 per fine ounce, from $US1,350.249 per fine ounce on Thursday

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.0745pct, from 2.0286pct on Thursday

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.7021pct, from 2.6330pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* June 2018 10-year bond futures contract was 97.255 (implying a yield of 2.730pct), from 97.325 (2.675pct) on Thursday

* June 2018 3-year bond futures contract was 97.78 (2.200pct), from 97.83 (2.17pct)

(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEST previous local session)