Market close: Australian shares end higher as Wall Street, banks boost
The Australian share market has closed modestly higher for the week, as a record high on Wall Street helped boost the market, though weak economic data from China tempered gains.
Markets at 5:41pm (AEST)
ASX 200 +0.4% to 5,531, All Ords +0.5% to 5,626
Major gains: Mesoblast +11.8% to $1.62, Whitehaven Coal +4.9% to $1.93, Blackmores +4.8% to $165
Major losses: Suncorp -4% to $13.15, Bluescope -2.2% to $7.93, Scentre -2.3% to $5.01
Futures: Euro STOXX 600 +0.1% to 346.1, FTSE +0.2% to 6,901, S&P 500 +0.1% to 2,184
AUD: 76.9 US cents, 59.3 British pence, 78.5 Japanese yen, 69 euro cents, $NZ1.067
For the week, the ASX 200 added 0.6 per cent. The benchmark index touched a 12-month high of 5,611 on August 1 and has traded mostly sideways as reporting season has seen mixed results.
Three of the Big Four banks posted gains, with Commonwealth Bank adding 0.1 per cent, NAB jumping 1.5 per cent, and ANZ bank rising 0.3 per cent.
Westpac bucked the trend to tumble 1.3 per cent to one-month lows of $29.62, continuing a slump after the bank revealed an increase in bad and doubtful loans.
Oil companies were supported as oil prices hovered near three-week highs, with West Texas Crude rising to $US43.62 a barrel.
Origin Energy jumped 2.4 per cent while Origin Energy soared 4 per cent.
Meanwhile a raft of disappointing data from China dampened sentiment, with three indicators across the construction, manufacturing and retail sectors coming up short of expectations in July, indicating China's economy is showing more signs of softening.
Finance company Suncorp was the worst performer today, dumping 4 per cent to one-week lows of $13.15 after flagging a squeeze on margins in its insurance arm.
The best performing stock was stem cell developer Mesoblast, which rocketed 11.8 percent to two-month highs of $1.62. Shares tumbled to a seven-year low in June and have recently begun to recover.
Among companies reporting, building materials company James Hardie Industries reported a 45 per cent jump in its latest quarterly profit to $US87.1 million. Shares lifted 0.8 per cent.
Baby Bunting soared 7.8 per cent to a record high of $3.06 after the company reported a 38 per cent increase in its net full-year profit to $8.3 million.
In commodities trade, gold is flat $US1,338 an ounce, while iron ore slid to $US59.60 a tonne.
Source: ABC News