The local share market closed higher on Thursday as big miners soared amid a fresh angst over US politics that paved the way for a choppy day of local trade.

At the close, the S&P/ASX200 index was 0.2 per cent, or 8.3 points higher on 5745.5 while the broader All Ordinaries index also closed 0.2 per cent, or 9 points higher at 5801.7.

US President Trump’s threat to shut down the US government over funding for his proposed wall on the Mexican border sent investors around the globe into damage control and into traditional defensive plays, according to senior adviser at ASR Wealth Advisers Cai Lewis.

“Investors sought the shelter of safe haven assets,” said Mr. Lewis, “weakness in US dollar pushed commodity prices higher and this provided support to mining stocks.”

Rio Tinto shares surged 3 per cent to $66.96, BHP Billiton shares shot 2.2 per cent higher to $26.60, Fortescue Metal rose 1 per cent to $5.95 while OZ Minerals jumped 2.5 per cent to $8.97 after it gave the nod to a new South Australian mine alongside its full-year results.

The broader risk-off sentiment, however, provided a counterbalance to the surge in miners and hurdles for traders looking to fully capitalise on strength in local heavyweights.

“Volatility will rise and we see downside risks to AUD/JPY because the issue of a partial government department shutdown is not going away unless the situation is resolved soon,” said CBA’s Richard Grace.

Financials closed mixed as CBA dropped 0.8 per cent to $77.55, Westpac lost 0.2 per cent to close on $32.45, ANZ shares fell 0.3 per cent $29.80 while NAB closed flat at $30.80.


August 24, 2017