11/10/2007 - 14:48

Stocks close at fresh record, driven by resources

11/10/2007 - 14:48

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The Australian share market closed at fresh peaks today, after global miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto and other resources stocks headed higher.

The Australian share market soared to a fresh high today, shrugging off a negative lead from Wall Street as investors raced to resources stocks, sending BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto to record levels.

Shares in BHP climbed 54 cents, or 1.2 per cent, to $46.04 after hitting a record high $46.38 while Rio added $2.01 to $112.12 after reaching a record $113.34.

Sentinel Stockbroking chief executive Norman Robinson said the market had accepted that strong commodity prices were "here to stay".

"For a long time investors had thought these prices were not sustainable but that view has shifted," Mr Robinson said.

CMC Markets market analyst David Land said the market had recovered very strongly from the weakness of a couple of months ago, when problems in the US mortgage market created a tightening of credit markets across the globe.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 33.6 points to 6771.9, surpassing the prior record close of 6738.26 set on October 10.

The All Ordinaries lifted 35 points to 6779.6, beating its previous closing peak of 6744.56, also set yesterday.

On the Sydney Futures Exchange, the December share price index contract was 61 points higher at 6826, on a volume of 16,832.

Uranium King fell six cents to 74 cents and Monaro Mining dropped three cents to $1.02 as the two junior uranium explorers announced they would merge.

Takeover target and iron ore firm Midwest Corporation jumped 42 cents to $4.90 as it again urged shareholders to take no action on Murchison Metals' hostile bid.

Oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum rose $2.03 to $54.41, but Santos eased six cents to $15.50.

Petsec Energy surged 24 cents to $1.635 as it said it would double its US oil and gas reserves and production with a $US110 million ($122 million) acquisition of onshore and offshore production assets.

In the banking sector, National Australia Bank gained five cents to $41.85, Westpac firmed three cents to $29.83, Commonwealth Bank jumped 85 cents to $59.65, and ANZ put on 16 cents at $31.55.

Bank of Queensland was 51 cents heavier at $19.40 after posting a 40 per cent increase in annual profit.

In the media sector, News Corp was up 10 cents at $27.38 while its non-voting stock gained 19 cents to $25.81.

Publishing and Broadcasting was off 10 cents at $20.80, and Fairfax dipped two cents to $4.77.

Telco Telstra improved six cents to $4.58.

Retailer Coles Group strengthened 11 cents to $15.86, and Woolworths sagged 17 cents to $31.50.

In the gold sector, Newmont added 10 cents to $5.21, Newcrest fell 45 cents to $28.00, and Lihir rose 12 cents to $4.10.

The price of gold in Sydney was $US744.90 per fine ounce, up $US4.70 on yesterday's close.

Among other stocks, gaming firm Tattersall's firmed three cents to $4.13 after saying a decision by the Victorian government to split the state's lotteries licence would not have any material impact upon profits.

National carrier Qantas added two cents to $5.97 after it said a delay in the delivery of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft would not materially affect its operations.

Online travel agency travel.com.au slipped two cents to 62 cents after dropping its support for Webjet's original takeover offer as it considered a sweetened takeover proposal from Webjet and a rival bid from Wotif.com Holdings.

The top-traded stock by volume was gold explorer Great Gold Mines, with 125.8 million shares worth $5.9 million changing hands. Great Gold was 0.6 of a cent lower at 4.5 cents.

National turnover was 1.92 billion shares worth $6.11 billion, with 676 stocks up, 590 down and 364 unchanged.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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