Mining shares soar on China GDP data

THE sharemarket reached a 15-month high yesterday after China's GDP came in at expected levels, which helped buoy the mining sector.

THE sharemarket reached a 15-month high yesterday after China's GDP came in at expected levels, which helped buoy the mining sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 31.2 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 4559.4.

Among the major sectors, materials soared 2.7 per cent, while energy stocks gained 0.8 per cent and financials inched up 0.2 per cent.

The Chinese economy slowed to its lowest rate since early 2009, with gross domestic product growth reported at 7.4 per cent in the September quarter, down from 7.6 per cent in the previous quarter.

Although in line with expectations, some investment banks had forecast a lower result earlier this week.

"[Investors] were getting a bit twitchy about whether it would surprise on the downside," said Patersons Securities strategist Tony Farnham. "When that was found out to not be the case, there was a bit of rally in the markets and that rally was centred around the commodities-driven stocks."

BHP jumped 3.3 per cent, to $34.56, while rival Rio Tinto added 4.8 per cent, to $58.74. Iron ore miner Fortescue rose 2.7 per cent, to $4.18.

Also cheering investors was Spain avoiding its credit rating being dropped to junk status, which contributed to rising markets overnight. "If you looked at the very start of our day, BHP and Rio got off to a flying start, that reflected their performance in Europe and the US," Mr Farnham said.

Woolworths yesterday said first-quarter sales had increased by 4.3 per cent. The result failed to impress investors, with shares falling 0.2 per cent to $29.09.

Ten Network also announced its results, reporting a net loss of $12.9 million for the year to August, compared with a net profit of $14.2 million in the previous corresponding period. The company also said it would be seeking to shed 100 jobs through voluntary redundancies.

Having struggled all week, Ten shares fell a further 1.6 per cent to 30.5?.

Among the banks, ANZ traded relatively flat at $25.95, CBA added 0.1 per cent to $57.05, NAB rose 0.6 per cent to $26.95 and Westpac gained 0.2 per cent to finish at $25.95.

The dollar gained about US1? overnight, pushed up by rises in global sharemarkets as well as an increase in most major metals.

The dollar kept the gains during yesterday's session and was buying US103.85? in late trading.

Mr Farnham said increases in base metals on the London Metal Exchange, the New York markets, as well as precious metals were big factors behind the dollar gaining ground.

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