Stocks back to levels before Greek crisis

AUSTRALIAN shares have recovered the lost ground from

AUSTRALIAN shares have recovered the lost ground from

the Greek debt crisis, adding

$57 billion in value over the past week to close at their strongest since August 2.

Continuing overseas market euphoria in expectation of a debt deal with Greece, and then on Thursday the news that it had been achieved, propelled the Australian market over the week back to the level it was before the euro-zone

crisis unfolded in early August.

Yesterday, however, it took

a breather. At the close, the

benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index

was up 5.1 points, or 0.12 per

cent, at 4353.3.

Austock Securities senior client adviser Michael Heffernan said

Australian equities had absorbed

the news from Europe on Thursday, which led it to ease off yesterday.

Mr Heffernan said the market had performed extremely well throughout the week.

"The momentum now and

sentiment is decidedly different from what we'd seen a month ago," he said. "The mood is buoyant."

Among the miners sector, BHP Billiton rose 34?, or 0.9 per cent, to $38.69 and Rio Tinto gained 52?, or 0.8 per cent, to $70.22.

For the banks, it was a mixed

day, though changes were slight. Westpac lost 8? to $22.68, Commonwealth dipped 3? to $49.96, ANZ rose 8? to $22.08 and National

Australia Bank gained 12? to $25.99.

Macquarie Group was up 80? at $25.15 despite the investment bank downgrading its 2012 forecast. Macquarie said financial market volatility and uncertainty had reduced its income and caused a

24 per cent fall in first-half profit.

Qantas closed down 2.5? at $1.545. The company revealed at

its annual meeting yesterday that

continuing industrial action had cost it more lost revenue than the disruptions due to the Chilean

volcanic ash cloud earlier this year, or about $68 million so far and growing at $15 million a week.

Gold moved up sharply again, the spot price gaining $US18.73 to US1742.75 an ounce.

The dollar finished the Australian session up US1.4? at $1.0676 after reaching $US1.0753 overnight.

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