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Aust shares higher as trade worries ease

Australian shares have ended higher on Tuesday, following on from a record close on Wall Street and hopes of reduced global trade tensions.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 ended the day 35.8 points, or 0.57 per cent, higher at 6,304.7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was 32.4 points, or 0.51 per cent, higher at 6,413.5 points.

Australian stocks showed broad strength, with solid gains in the materials sector after the US and Mexico moved closer to a trade agreement that could result in new direction for the troubled North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The US dollar remained near one-month lows against the euro on Tuesday but gained against the yen after the US-Mexico deal aimed at overhauling NAFTA boosted appetite for riskier assets.

BHP closed 0.9 per cent higher at $33.38 and Rio Tinto added almost one per cent to close at $73.48.

The Australian dollar gained ground and at 1700 AEST was buying 73.45 US cents, up from 73.13 US cents on Monday.

In companies news, with the local reporting season in its final week, Blackmores shares closed 11.5 per cent higher at $162.00 after the vitamin maker reported a 19 per cent lift in full-year profit.

The company, reporting its first full-year results since chief executive Christine Holgate left to take charge of Australia Post, said net profit rose to $70 million on the back of strong demand from Asia and improved cost efficiencies.

Specialty Fashion Group reaffirmed its intention to start paying dividends in the coming year after trimming its full-year loss by 22.4 per cent to $6.97 million.

The retailer's shares lifted 18.6 per cent to $1.15.

Telcos were the only weak point on the Australian market as falls for TPG Telecom and Telstra weighed on the sector, while consumer discretionary stocks were flat.

Oil prices dipped on Tuesday, weighed down by gradually rising output from producer club OPEC but supported by supply risks from places such as Venezuela, Africa and Iran.

Energy stocks held their ground, with Woodside Petroleum up 1.8 per cent to $37.00.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed 35.8 points, or 0.57 per cent, higher at 6,304.7 points

* The All Ordinaries rose 32.4 points, or 0.51 per cent, to 6,413.5 points

* In futures trading the SPI200 index was up 40 points, or 0.64 per cent, at 6,276 points at 1630 AEST

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 73.45 US cents, from 73.13 US cents on Monday

* 81.65 Japanese yen, from 81.24

* 62.84 euro cents, from 63.04

* 57 British pence, from 56.9

* 1.098 NZ cents, from 109.52

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,211.72 per fine ounce, up from $US1,204.918 per fine ounce on Monday.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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