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Greece deal just the recipe for bounce

28 Nov 2012 THE AGE
BY STEPHEN JOHNSON


THE sharemarket finished firmer after vaccine maker CSL injected some confidence into things and European Union finance ministers reached a Greek debt bailout deal.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 32.6 points, or 0.74 per cent, higher at 4456.8, while the broader All Ordinaries gained 29.9 points, or 0.67 per cent, to 4473.4.

The market's positive run continued after eurozone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund agreed to release ?43.7 billion ($A54.2 billion) in loans to Greece.

Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee said the news helped buoy the local market. "It's been a positive," she said.

Elsewhere in the region the Shanghai Composite Index fell below the 2000-point mark for the first time since 2009.

"That takes the Chinese market to levels not seen since the global financial crisis," Ms Lee said, adding that the underperformance stirred concerns about a slowdown in economic growth in China, one of Australia's key trading partners.

But investors instead took their positive cues from CSL, which upgraded its profit guidance. The shares rose to an all-time high of $50.55 in intraday trading and closed at $50.01.

This was after CSL had forecast that profit after tax would grow by 20 per cent this financial year, up from the 12 per cent forecast made in August.

CSL's strong rise added six points to the market.

Healthcare stocks also vastly outperformed other sectors, rising 4 per cent.

Retail shares were under pressure even though Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey said he expected Christmas sales to be stronger.

Following its annual meeting, Harvey Norman shares shed 1.5? to touch $1.83 but Ms Bell said investors were squaring profits after a strong week for retail stocks.

Among the big banks, Commonwealth Bank added 7? to $59.22, ANZ gained 24? to $23.81, National Australia Bank advanced 13? to $23.83 and Westpac put on 13? to $24.89.

In the resource sector, global miner BHP Billiton was 19? richer at $34.20 and Rio Tinto found 57? to $57.78.

The positive news out of Greece also gave the dollar a lift. Late on Tuesday it was trading at US104.80?, up from US104.53? on Monday.

The spot price of gold in Sydney was $US1750.04 an ounce, down US11? from Monday's close.

National turnover was 1.441 billion securities worth $3.712 billion.

On Wall Street on Monday, the Dow Jones shed 42.31 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 12,967.37.

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