Five-day losing streak draws to a close

The sharemarket finished slightly higher on Tuesday, stemming its five-day run of losses.

The sharemarket finished slightly higher on Tuesday, stemming its five-day run of losses.

Investors largely sat on the sidelines after the US and UK markets were closed overnight, offering few leads for the local market.

At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 10.8 points (0.22 per cent) at 4970.7 and the broader All Ordinaries rose 12 points (0.24 per cent) to 4950.6.

EL & C Baillieu Stockbroking director Richard Morrow said that in the absence of strong overseas leads all eyes focused on the dollar, which dipped to US96¢ and rallied more than US1.3¢ in the afternoon.

"That tended to steady the ship," Mr Morrow said. "There was a lack of leadership in the market and there are probably much bigger issues facing the global economy."

A lack of local news prompted investors to refocus on the economies of Japan and China and US money printing.

"The market just wallowed around," Mr Morrow said.

Australian companies operating in the US benefit if the US dollar rises.

Money has moved back into the greenback, as the prospect of an end to the quantitative easing stimulus program in the US grows.

Locally, most bank stocks were firmer after being punished in recent days.

Commonwealth Bank added 41¢ to $68.60, Westpac 25¢ to $29.47 and ANZ 23¢ to $28.08. NAB was down 12¢ to $31.12.

Resource stocks were down, with commodity prices lower on the US dollar's rise. Rio Tinto was down 23¢ to $52.88, BHP 3¢ to $33.98 and Fortescue 4¢ to $3.39.

Telstra was up 2¢ at $4.92.

Bond futures prices were lower after gains on Japanese sharemarkets.

The June 10-year bond futures contract was trading at 96.670 (implying a yield of 3.330 per cent), down from 96.725 (3.275 per cent) on Monday. The three-year contract was at 97.390 (2.610 per cent), down from 97.420 (2.580 per cent).

Nomura head of fixed income Jon Linton said bond markets were taking their cue from the Nikkei index, which had been extremely volatile in recent days, including a 7 per cent fall last Thursday.

The Nikkei was trading more than 1 per cent higher on Tuesday, which had helped push domestic bond prices lower. Mr Linton said events in Japan would continue to drive global markets over the next few days.

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