Market presses higher but volumes remain low
THE sharemarket closed firmly in the black yesterday after a positive US lead, materials and bank stocks leading the charge.
THE sharemarket closed firmly in the black yesterday after a positive US lead, materials and bank stocks leading the charge.The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 69.8 points, or 1.66 per cent, to 4275.4 and the All Ordinaries Index rose 68.9 points, or 1.61 per cent, to 4337.9.The CMC Markets strategist Michael McCarthy said trading was strongly positive but on light volumes. Market turnover was 1.6 billion shares worth $3.4 billion.Mr McCarthy said there was a "lack of conviction" in trading as debt woes in Europe and the US continued to weigh on sentiment."There are a number of reasons for local investors to be cautious. Clearly, while we're much less pessimistic about the debt situation in Europe and the US, we haven't seen some solutions as yet and the potential for negative news flow has lifted," he said.Mr McCarthy said materials and banks were the two best sectors and the small end of the resource sector was a standout performer.OZ Minerals, Aurora Oil and Gas, Mount Gibson Iron and Atlas Iron were among stocks that ended more than 5 per cent higher.BHP Billiton was up 79?, or 2.14 per cent, at $37.65 while Rio Tinto rose $1.65, or 2.42 per cent, to $69.95 after saying it would sell 13 aluminium units such as refineries and smelters as it streamlines its Alcan aluminium business.The banking sector was higher across the board. Commonwealth Bank rose 81?, or 1.71 per cent, to $48.31, ANZ 37? to $21.36, National Australia Bank 47? to $24.75 and Westpac 38? to $21.99.Telstra shares rose 4? to $3.11. The company's s annual general meeting takes place today, at which shareholders are expected to vote in favour of its $11 billion deal with the federal government on the national broadband network .Qantas slipped 2? to $1.54 after it cancelled 16 domestic flights, blaming maintenance engineers for having to ground five planes as its dispute with pilots escalates.Super Retail Group has agreed to buy sports goods retailer Rebel Group for $610 million from Archer Capital as the company seeks to expand in the leisure retail market. Super Retail's shares were in a trading halt and last traded at $6.50.The price of gold in Sydney closed at $US1681 per ounce, up $US15.80.