(Australian Associated Press)
The share market remains at its highest level in almost a decade after a steady session in which Commonwealth Bank shone and iron ore miners lost ground but proved resilient to a fall in China’s imports of commodities.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up two points, or 0.03 per cent, at 6,016.3 points at 1630 AEDT, its highest mark since January 2008.
Commonwealth Bank shares gained $2.07, or 2.65 per cent, to $80.27 after it reported a rise in its quarterly profit to $2.65 billion, while its three main rivals were relatively steady.
Macquarie Wealth Management division director Martin Lakos said the resources sector held up well despite a mixed trade report from China, which showed imports of commodities fell in October, most notably for iron ore.
BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto gained ground in afternoon trade after early falls, with BHP dropping 0.9 per cent to $28.49 and Rio Tinto slipping 0.7 per cent to $74.24, while Fortescue Metals fell 2.6 per cent to $4.90.
“If investors were concerned about the Chinese growth outlook then stocks like BHP would be way down, but they’re back to intra-day highs, so the Australian market has taken this news on the chin and moved on,” Mr Lakos said.
While Chinese imports of commodities fell, overall imports posted a “phenomenal” rise of 17.2 per cent from a year earlier, he said.
The Australian dollar weakened in overnight trade and briefly dipped on the the mid-afternoon release of the Chinese trade data, but recovered to be trading at 76.53 US cents at 1700 AEDT, down from 76.80 US cents on Tuesday.
In company news, theme park operator Ardent Leisure announced the surprise departure of chief executive Simon Kelly, and its shares fell 2.1 per cent to $1.835.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up two points, or 0.03 per cent, at 6,016.3 points.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 1.7 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 6,089.1 points.
* The SPI200 futures contract was down three points, or 0.05 per cent, at 5,998 points.
* National turnover was 4.7 billion securities traded worth $6.0 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 76.53 US cents, from 76.80 US cents on Tuesday
* 87.11 Japanese yen, from 87.55 yen
* 66.00 euro cents, from 66.17 euro cents
* 58.14 British pence, from 58.34 pence
* 110.69 NZ cents, from 110.80 NZ cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,277.81 per fine ounce, from $US1,278.04 per fine ounce on Tuesday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.8469pct, from 1.8381pct on Tuesday
* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.5253pct, from 2.5334pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* December 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.41 (implying a yield of 2.59pct) from 97.4 (2.6pct) on Tuesday
* December 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.05 (1.95pct), from 97.06 (2.94pct).
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)