Share market has positive close thanks to jobs data

The share market has had a positive close and the dollar has jumped after Australia’s unemployment rate dropped to a five-month low.

The All Ordinaries Index gained one point to close at 5,182 and the ASX 200 index added three points to finish on 5,126.

The market was in retreat early in the session before the release of Bureau of Statistics figures showing the jobless rate dropped to 5.9 per cent in October, seasonally adjusted.

More than 58,000 jobs were created, with most of the gains in full-time work.

Some economists have questioned the figures though, suggesting they are too good to be true.

Bank stocks jumped on the news, boosting the broader market. The Commonwealth Bank fared the best, adding 1.8 per cent to $77.40.

As for company news, Santos shares have tumbled after the struggling oil and gas producer completed the first stage of a $2.5 billion share sale.

Trading was halted at the start of the week after Santos announced the capital raising as part of a broader plan to cut debt.

Santos shares led the energy sector lower, closing down 16.5 per cent at $4.30.

To mining stocks and BHP Billiton lost 1.6 per cent to finish on $20.61.

A financial analyst said the clean up costs from a disaster at a Brazilian mine co-owned by BHP will be sizeable.

Several people were killed and more than 20 are still missing after two dams burst at the Samarco iron ore mine.

Back home, BHP is challenging a tax bill from the Queensland Government in a dispute involving its use of an offshore marketing hub in Singapore.

The Queensland Office of State Revenue is seeking $288 million in royalties and interest for sales from its coal joint venture with Mitsubishi.

The dollar soared on that strong jobs data, on bets the Reserve Bank is less likely to cut interest rates.

Around 5:00pm AEDT it was buying 71.4 US cents, 66.4 euro cents, 87.8 Japanese yen and 46.9 British pence.

Spot gold was fetching $US1,089 an ounce, West Texas crude was buying $US42.90 a barrel and in Singapore, Tapis crude was trading at $US47.26 a barrel.

Source: ABC News