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Positive economic data turns market around

THE sharemarket recovered to finish in positive territory yesterday, pushed up by positive economic data out of China.

THE sharemarket recovered to finish in positive territory yesterday, pushed up by positive economic data out of China.

The local bourse opened about 20 points higher, drifted back into negative territory and then rose after lunch. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished up 31.6 points, or 0.78 per cent, at 4071.8, while the broader All Ordinaries index was 28.8 points, or 0.7 per cent, higher at 4153.6.

China's leading economic indicators were up 0.6 per cent in July, sending its market more than 2 per cent higher.

IG Markets strategist Chris Weston said the leading indicators showed China was withstanding Europe's debt crisis and faltering growth in the US. That followed the International Monetary Fund lowering its growth forecasts for the global economy to 4 per cent for this year and next year, and warning of a return to recession if western leaders fail to get their economies back on track.

"China is still that one beacon of global economic strength in a world which seems to be deteriorating before our eyes," Mr Weston said.

He said attention would turn to the two-day meeting of the US Federal Reserve and subsequent interest rate decision.

Healthcare, energy and consumer discretionary sectors led the local market higher.

The best performer among the top 50 was Origin Energy, up 4.98 per cent at $13.49.

CSL also made strong gains, rising $1.27, or 4.67 per cent, to $28.47.

Retail stocks fared well, after David Jones met its financial guidance in delivering a 1.5 per cent fall in annual profit. It also maintained its forecasts for the first half and the shares rose 6? to $2.76.

Harvey Norman added 7? to $2.05, Myer was up 4? to $2.11, and JB Hi-Fi was 12? higher at $15.02.

The big banks and miners were mixed. Commonwealth Bank slipped 42? to $43.95, while the other three big banks clawed back earlier losses to finish positively, with NAB up 19? at $ 22.19, Westpac 8? at $19.31 and ANZ 7? at $19.39.

BHP Billiton was up 33? at $37.13 on a day it revealed chief executive Marius Kloppers's pay grew by 8.5 per cent last year to $US11.6 million.

Rio Tinto rose 69? to $69.59, Oz Minerals lost 12? to $10.54 and Iluka Resources fell 70? to $14.50.

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