Tuesday Share market gains as investors cheer a bounce in oil, iron ore prices

The Australian share market saw another day of healthy gains today, as investors cheered a bounce in oil and iron ore prices and a rally for stocks in China.

The All Ordinaries index jumped by 1.4 per cent to close at 4,962, and the ASX 200 finished 67 points higher at 4,910.

But the gains were not always assured, with stocks dropping into the red early in the session as the Commonwealth Bank traded ex-dividend. It closed down 2.3 per cent at $72.60.

The other three big banks went the other way. ANZ fared the best, up 1.9 per cent to $23.27.

National Australia Bank added 0.9 per cent to $24.98 after reporting an unaudited net profit of $1.5 billion for the December quarter.

NAB said revenue rose 2 per cent on improved lending volumes and a higher net interest margin.

Telstra was sold down for another day and lost 0.4 per cent to $5.42.

Elsewhere, blood products maker CSL posted a record $1 billion profit on the back of growth in its plasma therapy products. CSL closed 1.5 per cent higher at $106.

The owner of Bonds clothing and Sheridan sheets posted a half-year net profit of $24.3 million.

Pacific Brands said the result was driven by strong sales growth in its key brands, with a price rise for its underwear range.

Shareholders would receive a dividend for the first time in two years.

Pacific Brands soared 10.3 per cent to 86 cents.

The Reserve Bank left the door open to an interest rate cut if recent market turbulence dragged on growth.

The minutes of the RBA's February board meeting showed the bank was comfortable with the economy's ongoing transition away from mining-led growth.

But it said the outlook for continued lower inflation meant it could lower rates from the current historic low of two per cent if needed.

The dollar jumped on the release of the those minutes. Around 5:00pm (AEDT) it was buying 71.5 US cents, 64.1 euro cents, 81.9 Japanese yen and 49.6 British pence.

Spot gold had dropped to $US1,198 an ounce and oil was higher — Brent crude fetched $US34.68 a barrel.

Source: ABC News

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