11/03/2009 - 08:47

Market opens higher on Wall St surge

11/03/2009 - 08:47

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Australian stocks opened stronger after gains of almost six per cent on Wall Street overnight, leading to advances in the financial and resources sectors locally.

Market opens higher on Wall St surge

Australian stocks opened stronger after gains of almost 6 per cent on Wall Street overnight, leading to advances in the financial and resources sectors locally.

At 1015 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 53.5 points, or 1.68 per cent, at 3,230, while the broader All Ordinaries index added 49.6 points, or 1.58 per cent, to 3,192.8.

On the Sydney Futures Exchange, the March share price index futures contract was 70 points higher at 3,237 on a volume of 8,583 contracts.

The big miners were higher, with market leader BHP Billiton up $1.30, or 4.44 per cent, at $30.58, and rival Rio Tinto $1.67 higher, or by 3.46 per cent, to $49.97.

The banking sector was stronger, too.

National Australia Bank was up 18 cents at $16.46, Commonwealth Bank added 74 cents to $28.52, ANZ increased 30 cents to $13.04 and Westpac added 14 cents to $16.59.

In the US on Wednesday, Wall Street made its first big move upward in weeks after Citigroup Inc said it had operated at a profit during the first two months of the year.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 379.44 points, or 5.8 per cent, to 6,926.49.

The S&P 500 index added 43.07, or 6.37 per cent, to 719.60, while the Nasdaq composite index gained 89.64, or 7.07 per cent, to 1,358.28.

Austock Securities senior client adviser and strategist Michael Heffernan said the market was hungry for something positive.

"It's a relief to have a bit of a boost like this even if it's based on nothing more than a leaked memo from the Citigroup boss," he said.

"The good news has spread right across the board."

Making news this Wednesday, trading in Nexus Energy Ltd shares has been suspended for a week while the company continues talks about assets sales and fund raising options.

Its stock last traded at 38 cents.

Printer PMP will defend a claim by former chief executive and managing director Brian Evans, who left the company is January.

The printing group on Tuesday was served with a statement of claim by Mr Evans seeking a payment of $1.56 million.

Its stock rose two cents, or 7.69 per cent, to 28 cents.

Developer Mirvac Group has told the Australian Securities Exchange that it cannot explain a sharp drop in the company's share price since last week.

Its share price went from 80 cents last Wednesday to 59.5 cents on Tuesday.

At 1034 AEDT, Mirvac shares had added five cents, or 8.06 per cent, to 67 cents.

More to come...

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