Regional shares edge up as crisis averted for now
The Australian sharemarket gained ground after US politicians voted to raise the debt ceiling of the world's biggest economy and reopen the government. But the gains were muted as the market had priced in the likelihood of a short-term resolution.
At the close on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 20.2 points, or 0.38 per cent, at 5283.1, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 17.5 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 5281.9.
President Barack Obama has signed a measure into law reopening the US federal government and averting a potential default.
CMC analyst Ric Spooner said the news from the US dominated the market. "While there has been a bit of a relief rally, it hasn't been too loud," he said.
The major banks posted solid gains. ANZ rose 21¢ to $31.69, and Commonwealth Bank 67¢ to $73.43,CBA NAB 53¢ to $35.64 and Westpac 41¢ to $33.62.
The big miners were mixed. BHP rose 2¢ to $35.80, Rio Tinto dipped 40¢ to $63.71 and Fortescue Metals dropped 16¢ to $5.24. Newcrest lost 6¢ to $10.14 despite beating expectations to produce 586,573 ounces of gold during the September quarter.
Energy group Woodside fell 52¢ cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $38 after quarterly revenue fell 0.5 per cent to $US1.3 billion ($1.4 billion) .
Ten Network lost half a cent to 28.5¢ after its full-year loss blew out to $285 million amid write-downs and falling revenues.
Building products maker Boral rose 28¢ to $5.03 after it entered into a partnership with a US firm to create a $US1.6 billion plasterboard joint venture.
The dollar was trading slightly firmer at US95.52¢ late in the session, up from US95.25¢.
Bond futures prices also edged higher on expectations the US Federal Reserve will have to keep its economic stimulus plan in place despite a debt deal being reached.
UBS interest rate strategist Matthew Johnson said the US debt agreement would have normally caused bond prices to fall, but expectations about the stimulus program had changed this.
"The deal is not a deal, it's just an agreement to continue the argument later," he said. "The market is pricing in a longer period of rock-bottom super easy monetary policy from the Fed."