Dec 21 Australian shares were at their highest
in over 16 months on Wednesday, albeit in thin trade, pushed up
by a mix of materials and financial stocks following stellar
gains on Wall Street overnight.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was 0.6 percent, or 33.43
points, higher at 5,624.5 by 0124 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.5
percent in the previous session.
The NASDAQ Composite rose to record highs while the
Dow Jones industrial average flirted with the 20,000
point mark. The rally was fuelled by financials.
Australian financial stocks, which have been on a
joyride ever since Donald Trump's election as U.S. President,
took cue from their U.S. counterparts and scaled 16-month highs.
The "Big Four" Australian banks have risen in range of 10
percent to 16 percent since Nov. 9.
Basic material stocks, which trod a rocky path all of last
week as commodity prices began pulling back, saw some support
from a recovery in base metals prices, which in turn helped the
big miners. [IRON ORE/]
BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were up over 1
Nickel miners Western Areas and Independence Group
added 1.2 percent and nearly 4 percent respectively,
while copper miner OZ Minerals was 3.8 percent up.
James McGlew, executive director of corporate stock-broking
at Argonaut sees a quantum shift in terms of sentiment for
resources this year.
"Some of these coal stocks too are looking to have a great
finish to the year. U.S. coal prices, for instance, have been
have been supported by Trump's promise to not close down coal
mines but to make them the major source of energy for the U.S.
Miner Whitehaven Coal has added nearly 280 percent
so far this year with the majority of the gains in the latter
half. Its 3.2 percent gain led Wednesday's rise in energy
Oil stocks took heart from the underlying bullish sentiment
on oil prices. Major players Woodside Petroleum and Oil
Search were up 0.4 percent and 0.9 percent
Sydney Airport Holdings fell to over a month low,
down 3.7 percent, after reports that the Commonwealth Government
said it would not directly fund a proposed new airport for
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was up
for a fourth straight session, 0.6 percent higher at 6,832.62
with gains centered around consumer stocks and industrials.
SKY Network Television Ltd up 3.7 percent, and
Fletcher Building Ltd up nearly 3 percent, were the
benchmark's biggest gainers.
(Additional reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by