Aust stocks close stronger

The Australian sharemarket closed stronger today after improved consumer activity in the US boosted Wall Street, but Asian equities didn't perform as well.

The Australian sharemarket closed stronger today after improved consumer activity in the US boosted Wall Street.

Asian equities, however, did not perform as well. Investors are working their way through a series of Chinese releases including new loans, money supply, foreign reserves and aggregate financing data.

At the 4.15pm (AEST) official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 29.3 points, or 0.55 per cent, to 5,388.2, while the broader All Ordinaries index added 26.7 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 5,380.3.

US retail sales jumped 1.1 per cent in March, better than the 0.9 increase analysts had expected. The government also revised February retail sales to a 0.7 per cent gain, more than double its previous estimate. Sales had fallen in January and December.

"The local market has been quite resilient today, with losses in China not deterring investors from local equities. Resource sector reports have been the highlight of today’s trade," IG Market's Chris Weston said.

"Investors appeared cautious, with market leadership passing to less glamorous sectors -- particularly utilities and consumer staples," CMC chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said.

The Reserve Bank opted to reaffirm its neutral stance in the minutes of its April board meeting, leaving the cash rate on hold at 2.5 per cent.

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