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Big four banks lead market higher

Another day of strong gains by the major banks, and a rally by energy stocks, has pushed the share market higher.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 0.5 per cent to 5,761.5 points, as the financial sector closed 2.4 per cent higher.

The Australian dollar briefly hit 79.89 US cents after the latest employment numbers showed another rise in full-time employment, but it fell back in afternoon trade to be worth 79.24 US cents at 1700 AEST.

Citi Global Markets director of equities sales Karen Jorritsma said the big banks were again the focus, following the banking regulator's Wednesday announcement of milder-than-expected capital requirement increases.

"ANZ has done twice the normal daily volume," Ms Jorritsma said.

"Nnow that nervousness around the capital raising is resolved, the big banks are back in business."

ANZ gained 2.9 per cent, Westpac added 2.4 per cent, National Australia Bank rose 1.6 per cent and Commonwealth Bank was 0.9 per cent higher.

"Investors were particularly bullish about ANZ which has sufficient capital due to the sales of some of its wealth management assets, while CBA, from a valuation standpoint, is least appealing with the slight possibility they may do a capital raising," Ms Jorritsma said.

The major energy stocks all rose on higher overnight oil prices, while Santos upgraded its full year sales and production forecasts, leading to a gain of 8.3 per cent.

Oil Search was up 1.8 per cent, Woodside Petroleum gained 0.7 per cent and Origin gained 0.3 per cent.

Myer had a day to forget, losing 9.8 per cent to 73.5 cents, following an earnings downgrade and announcement of a $45.6 million hit from its investment in Topshop's Australian franchisee and fashion label sass & bide.

"I don't see how Myer can redeem itself, without providing any detail to quell the market," Ms Jorritsma said.

Infant formula maker Bellamy's Australia dropped five per cent to $6.40 as its shares resumed trading after two-week hiatus, following its offer of refunds for the capital raising on a canning facility that failed to gain Chinese regulatory licensing.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 29.4 points, or 0.51 per cent, at 5,761.5 points at 1630 AEST

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 26.3 points, or 0.46 per cent, at 5,805.7 points.

* The September SPI200 futures contract was up 38 points, or 0.67 per cent, at 5,703 points.

* National turnover was 2.2 billion securities traded worth $6.5 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:

CURRENCY ASK BID PREVIOUS

AUD/USD 0.7925 0.7923 0.7949

AUD/JPY 88.88 88.8 88.99

AUD/EUR 0.688 0.6875 0.6902

AUD/NZD 1.0798 1.0784 1.0802

AUD/GBP 0.6088 0.6082 0.6106

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,2389.33 per fine ounce, down from $US1,239.84 per fine ounce on Wednesday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.9733pct, from 1.965pct on Wednesday

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.685pct, from 2.6727pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* September 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.26 (implying a yield of 2.74pct) from 97.27 (implying a yield of 2.73pct) on Wednesday

* September 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 97.93 (2.07pct) from 97.94 (2.06pct).

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

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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