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Jump in private investment bolsters market

THE local market edged higher after fresh domestic economic data boosted sentiment, amid opportunistic buying in industrial stocks.

THE local market edged higher after fresh domestic economic data boosted sentiment, amid opportunistic buying in industrial stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 17.7 points, or 0.43 per cent, to 4119.8, while the broader All Ordinaries rose 17.4 points, or 0.42 per cent, to 4184.7. Trading volumes remained thin, with turnover at 2.43 billion shares worth $6.03 billion.

CommSec analyst Tom Piotrowski said the positive private investment figures provided a modest lift to the market. Australian new capital expenditure growth surged 12.3 per cent in the September quarter, beating an expected 7 per cent rise.

The data showed most investment was concentrated in the mining sector, which was no surprise.

Among the major miners, BHP Billiton was down 6? at $34.92, Rio Tinto eased 55? to $62.95 and Fortescue slid 11? to $4.54.

BHP announced it was reviewing the sale of its Canadian diamond assets, two days after the resources giant promoted the president of the Vancouver-based division, Graham Kerr, as its chief financial officer.

Mr Piotrowski said a focus this week would be key US economic data including employment numbers on Friday. He said it was unsurprising that ratings agency Standard & Poor's had lowered its credit ratings for many of the world's largest financial institutions, including the biggest banks in the US.

Locally, Bradken, which manufactures capital equipment for the mining, energy and freight rail industries, completed a $US200 million private bond placement in the US, as it seeks to diversify funding sources and extend the maturity of its debt. The shares rose 23? to $7.33.

Ports and rail operator Asciano was up 5.5? at $1.525. Australia's big four banks opened weaker, but closed in the black, with ANZ the best, up 39?, or 2 per cent, at $19.90.

Making headlines, grocery wholesaler Metcash booked a 14 per cent drop in interim profit, but has increased its full year financial forecasts. The shares rose 6? to $4.03.

Coal miner Aquila Resources won conditional approval from the government for its first iron ore mine. The shares rose 3.5 per cent to $6.48.

The gold spot price in Sydney was $US1722.10 per ounce, up $US9.10.


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