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US lead, tariff exemption boost market


The Australian share market is trading higher at noon, boosted by a strong US lead and the exemption for Australia from US President Donald Trump's tariffs on imported steel and aluminium.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 38.1 points, or 0.64 per cent, at 6,001.3 points at 1200 AEDT, led by strong gains among mining stocks and steelmaker BlueScope Steel.

On Wall Street In the US on Friday, the market climbed almost two per cent after data showed the number of jobs added to the US economy jumped by 313,000 in February - the biggest increase in more than one-and-a-half years.

Also, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and President Trump announced over the weekend that Australia would be exempt from the US's 25 per cent tariff on imported steel and 10 per cent on aluminium.

Steelmaker BlueScope, which ships steel from Port Kembla in Australia to its manufacturing facilities in the US, was 54 cents, or 3.5 per cent, higher at $15.86.

Among the major miners, BHP Billiton, was 2.4 per cent higher at $29.00, South 32 jumped 2.5 per cent to $3.28, Rio Tinto climbed 2.0 per cent to $75.30, and Fortescue Metals added 0.8 per cent to $4.79.

Newcrest Mining tumbled $1.09, or 5.0 per cent, to $20.50 after the gold miner announced it will take a financial hit from the dam wall breach at its NSW goldmine but said it is still too early to say how much it will be.

Energy stocks rebounded after oil prices rose nearly $2 on Friday.

Woodside Petroleum gained 1.8 per cent to $29.11, Santos lifted 1.1 per cent to$4.945, and Oil Search found 1.1 per cent at $7.16.

In the banking sector, the big four banks were 0.5 per cent to one per cent higher, led by the ANZ.

Among other stocks, McGrath dropped 0.5 cents, or 1.2 per cent, higher at 42.5 cents after the embattled real estate group slashed its full-year earnings guidance because reduced sales volumes had affected the company more than previously thought.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is higher against the US dollar, despite the greenback's strength, thanks to support from industrial commodities, with all metals but tin rising on Friday.

At 1200 AEDT on Monday, the local currency was worth 78.57 US cents, up from 77.95 US cents on Friday.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 38.1 points, or 0.64 per cent, at 6,001.3 points

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 38 points, or 0.63 per cent, at 6,107.1 points

* The SPI200 futures contract was up 39 points, or 0.65 per cent, at 6,002 points

* National turnover was 919.3 million securities traded worth $1.3 billion


One Australian dollar buys:

* 78.57 US cents, from 77.95 on Friday

* 84.02 Japanese yen, from 83.13 yen

* 63.83 euro cents, from 63.30 euro cents

* 56.72 British pence, from 56.46 pence

* 107.70 NZ cents, from 107.15 cents


The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1200 AEDT was $US1,322.52 per fine ounce, from $US1,318.30 per fine ounce on Friday.


* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.034pct, from 2.0038pct on Friday

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.775pct, from 2.7351pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.183 (implying a yield of 2.817pct), from 97.228 (2.772pct) on Friday

* March 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.850 (2.150pct), from 97.88 (2.12pct).

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