| March 2
March 2Australian shares rose on Thursday and
looked to set to snap a five-day losing streak as signs of
stronger global manufacturing activity and President Donald
Trump's pledges to boost the U.S. economy encouraged investors
to return to the market.
The S&P/ASX 200 index surged 1.2 percent, or 67.50
points to 5,772.3 by 0100 GMT. The benchmark recorded its
highest one-day gain in over 7 weeks. It fell 0.1 percent on
On Tuesday, in his first speech to the Congress, President
Trump adopted an open stance towards immigration reform and said
he wants a healthcare overhaul, broad tax cuts and a $1 trillion
public-private initiative to rebuild degraded roads and bridges
in the U.S.
While Trump gave few new details on his tax or spending
plans, investors were encouraged by what they saw as a less
combative tone as he tries to push his agenda through a Congress
reluctant to widen the government's budget deficit.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI
blasted through the 21,000-point mark for the first time.
"Trump’s speech to Congress didn’t create any new concerns,
it didn’t create new information either so there was nothing
really negative coming out of that so I think its an ongoing
commitment to fiscal stimulus," said Damien Hennessy, co founder
of Heuristic Investment Systems.
Financial and material stocks swept gains in the upbeat
benchmark index where the world's biggest miner by market
capitalization BHP Billiton, gaining over 3 percent,
Mining giant South32 soared 10 percent at one point
to record its biggest one-day gain in over a year as aluminium
prices hit their highest since May 2015.
Copper prices touched their highest in over a week as
manufacturing data from China displayed potential for strong
The ASX 300 Metals and Mining index snapped a 6-day
losing streak and surged 3.3 percent.
Nickel miner Independence Group soared as much as
8.9 percent to record its biggest one-day gain in 3 months.
"The materials sector’s really reflecting the global growth,
particularly the better PMI indices data from China today,"
China's factory activity expanded faster than expected in
February as domestic and export demand picked up, adding to
signs that the global economy is regaining momentum.
Financial stocks also cheered the benchmark, with the "Big
Four" banks dominating gains, rising 1.2 percent to 1.3 percent.
Australia's No.3 lender by assets Westpac Banking Corp
gained as much as 2 percent to its highest in 18
Global banking shares were also buoyed by growing
expectations of a U.S. interest rate hike later this
At the same time, supermarket operator Woolworths
fell 1.4 percent at one point after the stock traded ex-dividend
while telecom giant Telstra extended losses from the
previous session, down 1.4 percent, after trading ex-dividend.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index gained 0.7
percent or 49.84 points to 7,198.62 at 1215 GMT. The benchmark
hit its highest since October 2016.
Utilities and healthcare stocks lifted the benchmark as
retirement village operator Metlifecare gained 2.5
Retail services provider Warehouse Group was the
biggest decliner in the benchmark.
(Reporting by Hanna Paul in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by
Ambar Warrick; Editing by Kim Coghill)