ASX rallies to new closing all-time high

The Australian share market has closed higher for a fourth day, rallying to eclipse its all-time closing high set on July 30.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Wednesday up 63.1 points, or 0.93 per cent, to 6850.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 60.8 points, or 0.88 per cent, to 6,950.6 points.

The S&P/ASX200's peak during the day of 6,852.1 was just 23.5 points from its all-time intraday high, also set on July 30.

"Quite an eventful day for the markets," said CommSec market analyst James Tao

The market, Mr Tao said, was buoyed by the all-time highs set by all three major US indexes overnight and Donald Trump's comments negotiators were in the "final throes" of work on a US-China trade deal.

"There's a bit of optimism it can be done before the December 15 deadline for tariff hikes as well," Mr Tao said.

Every sector rose and seven of the 11 sectors were over 1.0 per cent higher, led by telecommunications which was up 2.1 per cent.

Telstra rose 2.8 per cent to $3.71 after chief executive Andrew Penn reconfirmed the company's guidance at its investor day presentation, while TPG rose 4.0 per cent to $6.85.

Woolworths rose 1.3 per cent to $39.68 after chief executive Brad Banducci gave up a potential $2.6 million bonus after the supermarket giant underpaid 5,700 staff for years.

Commonwealth Bank led the big four banks, gaining 1.2 per cent to $81.69, while ANZ gained 0.5 per cent to $25.06 and NAB rose 0.1 per cent to $26.18.

Westpac dropped 0.2 per cent to $24.81 for its fifth loss in six days following the bank's money laundering and child exploitation scandal.

Insurance companies IAG, Suncorp, QBE, NIB and Steadfast all gained between 1.8 and 2.9 per cent, which one analyst said was likely because fund managers were taking money out of banks but needed to retain exposure to the financial sector.

Bank of Queensland dropped 4.8 per cent to $7.75 a day after completing its $250 million institutional placement at $7.78 per share.

The mining sector rose 1.1 per cent, with BHP rising 1.2 per cent to $38.35, Rio Tinto climbing 1.1 per cent to $97 and South32 up 1.1 per cent to $2.67.

Goldminers showed strong gains as the price of the yellow metal rose against the sagging Australian dollar, with Evolution climbing 5.1 per cent, St Barbara rising 4.4 per cent, Northern Star up 3.5 per cent and Newcrest up 1.5 per cent.

Health care was the most subdued sector, only rising 0.3 per cent as CSL gained 0.1 per cent to a new closing high of $279.99.

Fisher & Paykel Health Care gained 3.2 per cent to $20.25 after announcing its half-year profit rose 24 per cent.

Harvey Norman dropped 0.7 per cent to $4.29 after a raucous annual general meeting in which company chairman Gerry Harvey tore into shareholder activist Stephen Mayne and the board received a second strike on executive pay - but managed to avoid a board spill.

The Aussie dollar slid against its US counterpart after Westpac said it expected two rate cuts from the Reserve Bank in 2020 followed by quantitative easing in the second half of the year.

It was buying 67.77 US cents, from 67.84 US cents on Tuesday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 63.1 points, or 0.93 per cent, to 6,850.6 points.

* The All Ordinaries closed up 60.8 points, or 0.88 per cent, to 6,950.6 points.

* At 1712 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down six points, or 0.09 per cent, to 6,853.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 67.77 US cents, from 67.84 US cents on Tuesday

* 73.97 Japanese yen, from 73.93 yen

* 61.56 euro cents, from 61.59 cents

* 52.76 British pence, from 52.61 pence

* 105.48 NZ cents, from 105.63 cents.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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