(Updates to close)
Feb 10 Australian shares ended higher for a
fourth straight session on Friday and saw their best week in two
months, as U.S. President Donald Trump's remarks on tax
encouraged stock buying.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1 percent, or 55.985
points, to 5,720.6 at the close of trade. The index gained 1.76
percent on the week, its biggest gain in nine weeks.
Asia Pacific stocks were more broadly supported by stronger
than expected Chinese trade data, which showed January exports
rose 7.9 percent from a year earlier, while imports jumped 16.7
Trump said he would make a major tax announcement in a few
weeks to lower burden on businesses but provided few details
about the plan.
"Remarks on tax were perfectly timed for the Australian
stock market. Bargain hunting had lifted the ASX 200 up off
support over the past three days," said Ric Spooner, Chief
Market Analyst at CMC Markets.
"The prospect of a near-term announcement on stimulatory
U.S. tax reform has added urgency to buying momentum this
All major sectors, except real estate, traded in positive
territory, with financials contributing the most.
The "Big Four" banks rose between 0.6 percent and 1.3
The benchmark mining index gained 1 percent, with
BHP Billiton adding 1.8 percent, even though workers at
the Escondida copper mine in Chile walked off the job on
Thursday in a strike that threatens to disrupt the international
"We’ve known about the threat of the strike for some weeks
now. So it's been priced in and it's only in one division," said
Ben LeBrun, a market analyst with Optionsxpress.
Rio Tinto gained 1.1 percent, while Fortescue
Metals Group added 1.9 percent.
However, losses in gold stocks resisted some gains on the
index. Gold prices fell on a firmer U.S. dollar after Trump's
major tax announcement and as economic data boosted expectations
of a U.S. rate hike.
Energy shares rose on the back of stable oil prices.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.2
percent, or 17.2 points, to finish the session at 7,104.43.
The index gained 0.14 percent on the week.
Industrial and telecom stocks led the losses, with Auckland
International Airport and Chorus Ltd falling
1.7 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively.
(Reporting by Suhail Hassan Bhat in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam