14/10/2008 - 13:51

Market closes higher on economic relief

14/10/2008 - 13:51

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The Australian bourse has clocked up its best two-day gain in over 33 years after the market closed four per cent higher, following the biggest point gain ever on Wall Street and news of the federal government's $10.4 billion economic stimulus package.

Market closes higher on economic relief

The Australian bourse has clocked up its best two-day gain in over 33 years after the market closed four per cent higher, following the biggest point gain ever on Wall Street and news of the federal government's $10.4 billion economic stimulus package.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 154.5 points, or 3.7 per cent, at 4,335.2, while the broader All Ordinaries index gained 169.6 points, or 4.09 per cent, to 4,311.5.

CommSec chief equities economist Craig James said following yesterday's All Ordinaries 5.1 per cent climb, the index has put on its best two-day performance since February 27 & 28 in 1975.

On the Sydney Futures Exchange at 1615 AEDT, the December share price index futures contract rose 187 points to 4,381 on volume of 44,637 contracts.

Macquarie Equities associate director Lucinda Chan said it was a good day for the local financial markets.

"We were very strong this morning and we've eased up a bit," Ms Chan said, adding that most of the sectors performed well. .

"The government's stimulus package was all encouraging and hopefully we will see a boost in consumer confidence."

Among the major banks, National Australia Bank jumped $1.63, or 7.28 per cent, to $24.03, Commonwealth Bank strengthened $2.35, or 5.57 per cent, to $44.55 and ANZ was 95 cents, or 5.49 per cent, stronger at $18.25.

Westpac put on 74 cents, or 3.36 per cent, to $22.74 while its takeover target St George Bank rose $1.77, or 6.4 per cent, to $29.43.

Among the big miners, BHP Billiton closed $1, or 3.33 per cent, higher at $31.00, while rival Rio Tinto added $3.44, or 4.33 per cent, to $82.80.

The local energy sector was stronger, with Woodside Petroleum up $3.61, or 9.81 per cent, to $40.42, Santos gained $1.29, or 10.57 per cent, to $13.50 and Oil Search added 39 cents, or 11.37 per cent, to $3.82.

At 1630 AEDT, spot gold was trading in Sydney at $US842 an ounce, down $US22.35 on yesterday's close of $US864.35.

Among local gold stocks, Newcrest Mining was 84 cents, or 3.06 per cent lower, to $26.65, Newmont Mining fell 27 cents, or 5.36 per cent, to $4.77 and Lihir Gold dropped 14 cents, or 5.79 per cent, at $2.28.

Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd share rose 12 cents, ot 4.65 per cent, to $2.70. It said sales for the three months ended September 30 have increased by three per cent from the same period in the previous year.

Other retailers were mostly higher but Woolworths fell eight cents to $26.28, David Jones was up nine cents to $3.22 and Coles owner Wesfarmers gained $1.13, or 5.33 per cent, to $22.35.

Among media stocks, Fairfax was up three cents to $2.28, News Corp added 45 cents or 3.26 per cent, to $14.25 while its non-voting scrip gained 65 cents, or 4.81 per cent, to $14.15.

Qantas gained one cent to $2.64, while rival Virgin Blue was steady at 33.5 cents.

The most traded stock by volume was CFS Retail Property, with 61.92 million units changing hands worth $125.03 million.

CFS fell 15 cents, 6.88 per cent, to $2.03.

Preliminary market turnover was 1.79 billion shares, valued at $6.02 billion, with 983 stocks up, 253 down and 218 unchanged.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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