InvestSMART

Stocks rebound but investors remain cautious

THE sharemarket rose 1.5 per cent yesterday as investors clung to comments from French and German leaders that Greece's future was "in the eurozone".

THE sharemarket rose 1.5 per cent yesterday as investors clung to comments from French and German leaders that Greece's future was "in the eurozone".

However, local shares shed some early gains as the initial enthusiasm of buyers waned.

MF Global's head of equity sales, Nick Burmester, said it was a trading day typical of recent months, with the market slipping back towards the end of trade.

"Post-lunch time, people start thinking about European funding concerns. US data is out [overnight] and people have typically been selling, focusing on that before the close," he said.

The S&P/ASX200 index gained 65.9 points, or 1.7 per cent, to 4071.7, and the broader All Ordinaries index rose 62.8 points, or 1.5 per cent, to 4153.2.

Mr Burmester said volumes were higher than usual as the September share price index futures contract expired. Turnover was 2.03 billion shares changing hands for $6.47 billion. Gains were spread across almost every sector, with the exception of information technology stocks, which closed slightly lower.

The energy sector was the strongest, ending the day 2.7 per cent higher. Santos was up 27? at $11.21 and Woodside Petroleum rose 96? to $33.21.

The best performing stock among the top 100 was Atlas Iron, which was up 20?, or 5.8 per cent, at $3.66. Hearing aid maker Cochlear was the worst, falling $1 to $50.30.

Mining giant Rio Tinto gained 1.51 per cent to $69.38 after it announced it would invest $US833 million in infrastructure to help it increase iron ore production in Western Australia's Pilbara region. Fellow miner BHP Billiton rose 1.98 per cent to $37.63.

Department store chain Myer said it expected profit to fall by as much as 10 per cent this year, after more than doubling its full year profit for 2010-11. It gained 4? to $2.10.

The spot price of gold in Sydney was $US1810.69 an ounce, down $US11.10.

Gold stocks were mixed, with Australia's biggest gold miner Newcrest down 64? at $38.11. Kingsgate Consolidated fell 30? to $7.83, while OceanaGold gained 8? to $2.64.


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