ASX ends up on softer dollar, trade data

Australia's share market closed higher and is positive for the week, after banks benefited from a lower Aussie dollar and trade data which suggested a bounce in consumer spending.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed up by 49.4 points, or 0.81 per cent, to 6112.6 points on Thursday.

The ASX200 is higher by 0.64 per cent for the week, following two consecutive weeks of losses.

The All Ordinaries index finished higher by 49.2 points, or 0.79 per cent, to 6301.0.

The ASX200 rose early on a good lead from the US, then moved higher after investors seized on foreign trade data for July that showed a seven per cent increase in imports.

A four per cent decline in exports amid the coronavirus pandemic meant the nation's trade surplus almost halved to $4.6 billion from $8.1 billion in June.

Bell Direct market analyst Jessica Amir said the lower Aussie dollar, which fell below 73 US cents at one stage, and imports figures helped the ASX result.

However, she warned one of Australia's biggest exports, iron ore, could be a worry for the market soon.

Brazilian iron ore miner Vale is resuming operations after dam bursts at its mines in Brazil last year killed hundreds of people.

That means renewed competition for the likes of BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue.

"We'll still remain a dominant player but the margin is going to reduce," Ms Amir said.

"The trade surplus has been supported by iron ore, and our miners have been providing the bulk of it to China."

The ASX result was shaped by financials, which had a 1.34 per cent gain.

ANZ was up 1.77 per cent to $18.37, the Commonwealth was higher by 0.84 per cent to $68.18, NAB gained 1.53 per cent to $17.89 and Westpac rose by 1.62 per cent to $17.60.

There were also gains of more than 1.0 per cent for industrials, consumer discretionaries and staples, health and property.

In mining, BHP was ex-dividend and lost 2.31 per cent to $37.61. Rio Tinto shed 0.69 per cent to $98.31 and Fortescue gained 0.67 per cent to $18.14.

One of the big movers was New Zealand-based casino group SkyCity Entertainment, which rose by 7.36 per cent to $2.48.

The group, which runs casinos in Adelaide, Auckland, Hamilton and Queenstown, reported full-year statutory net profit after tax up 62 per cent.

The result was helped by some one-off gains, such as $NZ337m from insurers after a fire.

However, management reported punters have returned to COVID-safe venues in good numbers.

Shares in infant formula provider Bubs fell 4.92 per cent to 87 cents after it raised $28.3 million from an institutional placement. Shares were sold at 80 cents each.

Bubs said the funds will help buy a manufacturing site in China and expand to other parts of the world.

A share purchase for retail investors is planned and aims to raise $10 million.

Items of interest to investors on Friday will include retail trade data for July.

Earlier, US markets had their best day in about two months.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged more than 450 points, while the benchmark S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit record highs.

Data showed US private payrolls expanded last month, but at a much slower pace than expected.

Investors are now waiting for the government's comprehensive employment report which is slated for Friday.

The Aussie dollar was buying 73.09 US cents at 1719 AEST, lower from 73.64 US cents at the close on Wednesday.

ON THE ASX

* The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed up by 49.4 points, or 0.81 per cent, to 6112.6 points on Thursday.

* The All Ordinaries index finished higher by 49.2 points, or 0.79 per cent, to 6301.0.

* At 1719 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was trading lower by 1.0 point, or 0.02 per cent, at 6,111 points.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 73.09 US cents, from 73.53 US cents on Wednesday

* 77.61 Japanese yen, from 77.97 yen

* 61.89 Euro cents, from 61.86 cents

* 54.98 British pence, from 55.05 pence

* 108.34 NZ cents, from 108.75 cents

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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