ASX gains but week was worst this year

The Australian share market has finished with modest gains to close out its worst week since November.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed Friday up 16.3 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 6,584.4 points, while the broader All Ordinaries finished up 21.1 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 6,663.4 points.

For the week, the ASX200 ended down 184 points, making for its worst week since 191-point loss in mid-November.

"I think the market's still very nervous with anything that pops up on trade," said X-chainge co-founder and director Nick Twidale, referring to the tension between the US and China.

The tech sector was the only one to move more than a percentage point, posting an overall gain of 1.3 per cent.

Afterpay rose 6.1 per cent to $24.17 after the buy-now, pay-later company said it now had more than two million US customers, up from 1.5 million in early June.

Wealth management software company Praemium was up 13.3 per cent, Wisetech Global rose 2.7 per cent and Altium was up two per cent.

James Hardie was the biggest ASX200 gainer, up 13.7 per cent to an 11-month high of $21.62 after the building materials company said it expected to make more profit this year than analysts had forecast.

AMP shot up 11.6 per cent to a three-week high of $1.93 after the fallen banking and wealth giant completed a $650 million capital raising to fund its three-year turnaround.

The big banks were mostly up, with Commonwealth gaining 0.6 per cent to $79.42, Westpac up 0.5 per cent to $28.21 and ANZ up 0.7 per cent to $27.

NAB was the outlier, declining 0.3 per cent to $27.65.

The mining sector was mixed despite a rise in the price of iron ore, with BHP down a single cent to $37.29, Rio Tinto down 0.9 per cent to $87.69 but South32 up 1.8 per cent to $2.88.

Brisbane-headquartered Argentinian lithium producer Orocobre was up 10.3 per cent to $3.01 after ground was broken on a lithium hydroxide plant in Japan it holds a 75 per cent stake in.

Goldminers were mostly down after several days of strong gains, even as the price of the precious metal stayed firm above $US1,500 an ounce.

Newcrest fell 0.6 per cent, Northern Star was down 2.4 per cent and Saracen dipped 2.6 per cent.

News Corp was up 1.3 per cent to $19.90 after the media company said it had achieved a $US228 million ($A423 million) full-year profit.

REA Group was up 5.6 per cent to $96.64 after announcing underlying profit rose 5.5 per cent to $295.5 million.

The Aussie dollar rose for a fourth straight day, buying 68.16 US cents, from 67.68 US cents on Thursday.

Looking forward, Mr Twidale said he expected trade issues to dominate next week, with attention focused on the fixing rate for China's yuan.

A number of companies will be reporting earnings include CSL, JH Hi-Fi, Challenger, Vicinity Centres, Evolution Mining, Orora and Pact Group.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 16.3 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 6,584.4.

* The All Ordinaries closed up 21.1 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 6,663.4.

* At 1630 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was up 27 points, or 0.42 per cent, to 6,521.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 68.16 US cents, from 67.68 cents on Thursday

* 72.18 Japanese yen, from 71.85 yen

* 60.93 euro cents, from 60.40 cents

* 56.19 British pence, from 55.67 pence

* 104.90 NZ cents, unchanged.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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