Share market reverses early losses as investors pile into blue chip stocks

Australian shares have reversed early losses to turn higher, as investors piled into blue chip stocks.

Local shares had a weak start as global markets fell overnight.

The European Central Bank reduced interest rates, but its president Mario Draghi flagged that multiple rate cuts expected by the markets was unlikely.

This initially disappointed investors, leading to a mild sell off, before an uptick in markets in Japan and Hong Kong helped boost local stocks.

Both main indexes added 0.3 of 1 per cent, with the All Ordinaries rising 13 points to 5,225, while the ASX 200 finished 16 points higher at 5,166.

For the week, the ASX 200 jumped 1.5 per cent, its second consecutive week of gains.

In news on Friday, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission imposed additional licence conditions on Macquarie Bank.

It came after the watchdog ruled Macquarie had breached client provisions by failing to deposit money into designated client trust accounts and making withdrawals that were not permitted from those accounts.

Elsewhere, Flight Centre said it was disappointed the High Court granted the ACCC leave to appeal against a decision in a long-running court case on alleged price fixing.

The case will now go to a full hearing of the High Court later in the year.

In finance stocks, Westpac gained 0.7 per cent to two-month highs of $32.74, while NAB rose 0.9 per cent.

Other blue chip companies did well, with Woolworths up 0.9 of 1 per cent, while rival Wesfarmers climbed 1.2 per cent to two-week highs of $41.79.

In currencies, the dollar is higher against the greenback — a short time ago it was buying 74.9 US cents.

It is also fetching 67 euro cents, 84.8 Japanese yen and 52.4 British pence.

In commodities, spot gold edged higher to $US1,275 an ounce, while West Texas crude is fetching $US37.84 a barrel.

Source: ABC News

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