Aust stocks close stronger

Local market undeterred by downbeat housing data as financials outperform.

The Australian sharemarket closed higher following healthy Chinese PMI figures, shrugging off negative headline housing data. 

At the 4.15pm (AEST) official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 26 points, or 0.47%, to 5,518.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index edged up 25.4 points, or 0.46%, to 5,499.2 points.

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto lagged on an otherwise generally upbeat local marketplace as the major financial institutions outperformed.

“A positive for the market earlier today was yesterday and today’s Chinese PMI figures, which were positive -- you would have expected that to be beneficial to BHP and Rio but obviously the low iron ore price is still hanging over them,” said Michael Heffernan, senior client adviser and economist at LonSec.

While building approvals fell 5.6% in April, Heffernan still sees positives in the residential housing sector.

“Obviously it has taken its foot off the accelerator but the velocity is still positive. It’s really the apartment buildings that are slacking off. Houses are still ok and that’s the engine of economic growth as I see it over the next 12 months.”

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