Banks gain, miners lift sentiment in Australian share market

The Australian share market has finished off its highs, as the Nikkei in Japan slumped at the open, though an uptick among miners helped buoy sentiment.

Banks gained with Commonwealth Bank rising 1 per cent to six-week highs of $78.16, while ANZ gained 0.7 per cent.

The All Ordinaries rose 0.3 of 1 per cent to 5,239, while the ASX 200 finished 0.3 per cent to 5,183.

For the week, the ASX ticked 0.3 per cent higher, a third consecutive week of gains.

Blue chip miners were supported by a rally in commodity prices today with BHP Billiton jumping 4.7 per cent, but a dip in the healthcare sector trimmed overall gains.

Telstra dipped 0.8 per cent, after it again experienced a mass network outage that affected up to eight million customers. Its since apologised and will provide a free data day on April 3 as compensation.

Premier Investments soared 4.1 per cent to a record high of $15.31. The group, which owns stationary store Smiggle and clothing chains including Just Jeans, posted a record half profit of $71.5 million.

Meanwhile, an ATO report has revealed the nation's areas with the highest taxable income include the eastern Sydney suburbs of Darling Point and Point Piper.

The dollar has slipped against the greenback; a short time ago it was buying 76.4 US cents.

That is near an eight-month high, the dollar has been boosted as the US Federal Reserve decided to keep interest rates on hold and indicated there would be a slower path to cutting rates.

The Australian dollar is fetching 67.5 euro cents, 85 Japanese yen and 52.8 British pence.

Checking commodities, spot gold is buying US$1,263 an ounce, while West Texas crude is higher to US$40.12 a barrel.

Source: ABC News

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