(Updates to close)
April 21 Australian shares finished higher on
Friday as miners rebounded on higher metal prices, and investors
shrugged off news of a U.S. trade probe into Chinese steel
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.6 percent or 32.71
points up at 5854.1, but it was still down 0.6 percent on the
Iron ore futures in China, Australia's major trading partner
surged 7 percent on Friday, extending hefty gains for a second
session along with steel prices.
Market sentiment towards mining stocks remained bullish,
even after U.S. President Donald Trump announced the trade probe
against China and other exporters of cheap steel into the U.S.
market, raising the possibility of new tariffs.
Material stocks have been under pressure this week over
worries of a production glut that had weakened the commodity
The Aussie market was also supported by Wall Street, which
rallied overnight on strong corporate earnings, and as traders
cheered news that the U.S. tax reform is finally underway.
Materials and financials were the top perfomers on the
benchmark. Big miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto
ended higher as did the 'big four' banks.
Utility shares rose, with shares of DUET Group
surging 9.5 percent after announcing that the Australian
government had given its approval to the company's $5.5 billion
takeover by Cheung Kong Infrastructure (CKI) consortium.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 9.17
points or 0.1 percent up at 7197.22, but the index fell 0.45
percent for the week.
Consumer stocks and healthcare shares underpinned Friday's
gains. a2 Milk Company Ltd finished 1.9 percent higher,
while Metlifecare Ltd added 0.5 percent.
(Reporting by Anusha Ravindranath in Bengaluru; Editing by