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ASX closes higher led by energy, materials

The Australian share market has ended the day strongly, following positive leads from Wall Street and strong rises in the oil and commodities markets.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished up by 50 points or 0.9 per cent at 5,776.6 points on Wednesday, led by mining and energy stocks.

CMC Markets analyst Michael McCarthy said the ASX pressed on after a good start, with positive overseas leads supported by good data on US consumer confidence.

The Australian dollar was buffeted following weaker-than-expected inflation data.

At 1700 AEST the local currency was down against the greenback, trading at 78.92 US cents from 79.36 US cents on Tuesday and falling below the 79 cent mark for the first time since July 21.

The other big movers for the local market, Mr McCarthy noted, were oil and copper - the latter surging to its highest level in more than two years.

"Copper's multi-month highs have come out and really supported our market sectoral performances and that's where the gains have been, with energy and materials," Mr McCarthy said.

BHP Billiton surged 3.3 per cent to $25.37, Rio Tinto rose 2.6 per cent to $64.65, and Fortescue Metals jumped 4.7 per cent to $5.30.

Robust oil markets also pushed ahead overnight, closing at one-month highs, with local oil and gas producers the beneficiaries.

Santos was the standout, ahead by 5.3 per cent or 17 cents to $3.39.

"Buying overall has been strong, though there are a few red patches - utilities, industrials - and gold has been under pressure," Mr McCarthy said.

Gold miner Newcrest ended the day 1.75 per cent down at $20.21

The major banks were also stronger across the board, with Mr McCarthy attributing the gains to index-buying as investors kept pace with the market rise.

In company news, junior oil producer Senex Energy dropped 1.8 per cent to 28 cents following a 37 per cent crash in full-year revenue.

And shares in Sigma Healthcare burst into life, rising by 9.9 per cent to 94.5 cents after agreeing to drop its legal action and enter negotiations in its dispute with My Chemist/Chemist Warehouse Group.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed up 50 points, or 0.87 per cent, at 5,776.6 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 48 points, or 0.83 per cent, at 5,823.3 points.

* The September SPI200 futures contract was up 54 points or 0.95 per cent at 5,717 points.

* National turnover was 2.2 billion securities traded worth $5.7 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST

CURRENCY ASK BID PREVIOUS

AUD/USD 0.7892 0.7891 0.7936

AUD/JPY 88.26 88.24 88.77

AUD/EUR 0.6782 0.678 0.6808

AUD/NZD 1.0635 1.0626 1.069

AUD/GBP 0.6063 0.6059 0.6091

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,245.13 per fine ounce, down from $US1,255.00 per fine ounce on Tuesday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.911pct, up from 1.8955pct

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.6753pct, up from 2.6278pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* September 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.28 (implying a yield of 2.72pct), from 97.295 (2.705pct) on Tuesday

* September 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 97.99 (2.01pct), from 97.98 (2.02pct).

(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session)

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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