ASX hits highest close in a decade
Strong showings from healthcare heavyweights and the major banks have propelled the Australian share market to its highest close for a decade after a nutty day of trading.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed up 52.7 points, or 0.85 per cent, at 6,268.3 points on Thursday, the highest close since December 2007, while the broader All Ordinaries index gained 49.6 points, or 0.79 per cent, to 6,349.8 points.
But the local bourse didn't reach its highest level in 10 years, which it hit earlier this week at 6301.5 points
The big four banks alone boosted the benchmark by more than 22 points, while vaccines and blood products supplier CSL injected over seven points into the index.
CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said it had been a surprisingly good day for Australian investors and trading was up around 10 per cent on average volumes.
"It's just nuts, it really is," he said.
"It's difficult to pin it to any particular piece of news; I haven't really seen anything that justifies this huge U-turn that we're seeing in sentiment."
Mr McCarthy said other markets in the region were also rallying particularly in China, including China's Shanghai Composite index, which was up more than two per cent.
Locally, the healthcare sector was the star performer, with CSL breaking the $200 mark for the first time, closing up 2.6 per cent at $200.60.
ANZ led the big banks' rally, soaring 2.2 per cent to $29.20, followed by NAB, up 1.8 per cent to $28.15, while Westpac gained 1.6 per cent to $29.76 and Commonwealth Bank rose 1.6 per cent to $75.21.
Energy stocks were the biggest loser after global benchmark Brent crude oil had its largest one-day drop in two years, with escalating US-China trade tensions threatening to hurt oil demand, and news that Libya would reopen its ports raised expectations of growing supply.
Origin Energy tumbled 3.1 per cent to $9.43, energy giant Woodside Petroleum slumped 0.9 per cent to $35.82 and Santos declined 0.3 per cent to $6.21.
In companies news, The A2 Milk Company slumped three per cent to $10.50 despite the dual-listed New Zealand-based dairy firm revealing its full-year revenue climbed by more than two thirds.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar lost ground due to global growth concerns amid escalating trade tensions.
The Aussie was trading at 73.84 US cents at 1630 AEST on Thursday, from 74.10 US cents on Wednesday.
ON THE ASX
* The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was up 52.7 points, or 0.85 per cent, at 6,268.3 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 49.6 points, or 0.79 per cent, to 6,349.8 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was up 43 points, or 0.7 per cent, at 6,217 points at 1630 AEST
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