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Doom in Greece a boon for Aussie market

GREECE'S passing of tough spending cuts to stave off an economic crisis drove the sharemarket to its strongest rise in a single day this year.

GREECE'S passing of tough spending cuts to stave off an economic crisis drove the sharemarket to its strongest rise in a single day this year.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index ended the financial year with its third straight day of gains, a rise of 78.5 points, or

1.73 per cent, to 4608.

Austock senior strategist Michael Heffernan said he was "cautiously optimistic" that the sharemarket would generally continue growing in the new financial year.

He said Greece's financial crisis and the Japanese earthquake had weighed on the Australian sharemarket.

"I'm pretty positive about the market as long as we don't get any of the extraordinary events which we had in the last six months," he said.

The Greek parliament on Wednesday night defied angry protests to approve the slashing of ?28.4 billion ($A38.93 billion) from government spending by 2015. The austerity package had been demanded by Greece's eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund as a condition for the release of funds needed to avert a debt default.

News of the vote lifted stocks around the globe. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones gained 72.73 points, or

0.6 per cent, to close at 12,261.42 and the broader S&P 500 rose 10.74 points, or 0.83 per cent, to 1307.41.

Last night, the Greek government was set to vote on a bill outlining how the measures would be enforced.

In Australia yesterday, the healthcare and industrials sector led the broader market higher, with health stocks up 2.09 per cent and industrials up 2.42 per cent.

Healthcare company CSL shot up 76?, or 2.4 per cent, to $33.06.

Among the industrials, BlueScope Steel rose 5.5?, or 4.8 per cent, to $1.205 and Brambles advanced 26?, or 3.7 per cent, to $7.22.

The big miners also made strong gains. BHP Billiton climbed 65?, or 1.5 per cent, to $43.80 and Rio Tinto put on $1.46, or 1.8 per cent, to $82.99.

The big four banks all advanced, Westpac rising 44?, or 2 per cent, to $22.26, Commonwealth 93?, or

1.8 per cent, to $52.30, ANZ 40? to $22 and National Australia Bank 44? to $25.62.

Goldminer Newcrest gained 61?, or 1.6 per cent, to $37.71. The spot gold price edged up $US1.54 to finish the Australian session at $US1509.49 an ounce.

Insurance Australia Group firmed 2? to $3.40 after maintaining guidance of an insurance margin between 8 and 10 per cent for 2010-11. This was after it said the Christchurch earthquake would cost it as much as

$65 million in insurance claims. The insurer's industry peers were also higher.


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