29/10/2008 - 08:25

Market surges at open on Wall St rally

29/10/2008 - 08:25


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The Australian market has shot up over 3.5 per cent at open today, boosted by a near 11 per cent surge on Wall Street overnight ahead of an expected interest rate cut.

Market surges at open on Wall St rally

The Australian market shot up over 3.5 per cent at open today, boosted by a near 11 per cent surge on Wall Street overnight ahead of an expected interest rate cut.

At 10:25 AEDT, the All Ordinaries index was up 3.56 per cent or 133.8 points to 3889.2.

Meanwhile the S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 3.54 per cent or 134.5 points to 3928.9. Earlier the index had jumped as high as 4.27 per cent at 1010:AEDT.

Overnight, Wall Street's Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 10.88 per cent or 889.35 points to finish at 9065.12.

The Nasdaq jumped 143.57 points, or 9.53 per cent, to 1,649.47 and the broad-market Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 91.59 points, or 10.79 per cent, to 940.51.

On the Sydney Futures Exchange, the December share price index futures contract was up 138 points at 3,940 on a volume of 10,475 contracts.

The financial sector was stronger.

ANZ shares added 73 cents, or 4.31 per cent, to $17.66, National Australia Bank rose 87 cents, or 3.8 per cent, to $23.77 and Commonwealth Bank gained $1.55, or 3.94 per cent, to $40.93.

Westpac improved by 91 cents, or 4.44 per cent, to $21.41 and St George Bank lifted $1.08, or 4.03 per cent, to $27.90.

St George today reported net profit for fiscal 2008 rose 0.9 per cent to $1.17 billion, and cash profit jumped 13.9 per cent to $1.32 billion.

Macquarie Group was one of the biggest lifters, adding $2.17, or 7.89 per cent, to $29.68.

The major miners continued their improvements, with BHP Billiton adding 79 cents to $26.15 and rival Rio Tinto gaining $2.69 to $70.94.

Bell Potter senior adviser Stuart Smith said the local market should remain steady for the remainder of the day.

"I think what you're seeing now is essentially how we're going to finish the day," he said.

The gains on Wall Street showed markets remain volatile, and the future of all markets remained difficult to predict, Mr Smith said.

"There's been intraday volatility in the Dow and people have been making a lot of money out of it," he said.

"Until we're pretty sure that the deleveraging in all asset classes is over, we're going to see the volatility still."

St George's results would be seen as a positive both for the bank and for Westpac, which has received approval to take over St George.

"St George is up about the same as the other banks so far. It can't be any better," Mr Smith said.

"But still, in all, it can't hurt Westpac."

Energy stocks were up, with Woodside Petroleum adding $1.07 to $38.17, Oil Search gaining 14 cents $3.54, and Santos rising $1.15, or 9.87 per cent, to $12.80.

At 1032 AEDT, spot gold was trading in Sydney at $US749.65 an ounce, up $US8.05 on yesterday's close of $US741.60.

Among local gold stocks, Newcrest Mining added $1.18, or 6.66 per cent, to $18.89, Newmont Mining gained 42 cents, or 12.24 per cent, to $3.85 and Lihir Gold rose 13 cents, or 7.85 per cent, to $1.785.

In news today, beverage company Foster's Group Ltd has delayed the planned completion of a review of its struggling wine assets by two and a half months, that its first quarter performance is in line with its expectations, and that its Australian beer arm continues to do well.

Fosters shares lifted 33 cents, or 6.5 per cent, to $5.41.

Fairfax Media Ltd has extended the debt maturity profile of a bank facility by three years, to reduce its 2010 refinancing risk.

Fairfax stocks rose eight cents, or 4.28 per cent, to $1.95.

News Corporation was up 57 cents to $13.77, while its non-voting scrip gained 59 cents to $13.59.

Gloucester Coal Ltd says the outlook for its coal business remains sound, despite the global financial crisis, and expects to post record profit for fiscal 2009.

Gloucester shares jumped 53 cents, or 14.76 per cent, to $4.12.

In the retail sector, Woolworths added 43 cents to $26.58, Coles owner Wesfarmers rose 90 cents to $19.65, and David Jones lifted 18 cents to $2.87.

At 1052 AEDT, the most traded stock by volume was Queensland Gas, with 76.3 million units changing hands worth $438.8 million.

Queensland Gas shares were steady at $5.75.

Market turnover was 398.6 million shares, valued at $1.31 billion, with 674 stocks up, 119 down and 172 unchanged.



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