The Australian share market has closed higher as investors were encouraged by US economic data showing stronger wages growth, and a positive performance from China’s share market which resumed trading after a week’s holiday.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 was up 28.6 points, or 0.5 per cent, at 5,739.3 points on Monday, with the banking, healthcare, telcos and consumer-related sectors driving gains.
ASR equity and derivatives adviser Shane Chanel said market-driving US non-farm payrolls figures released on Friday were below expectations because of the impact of recent hurricanes hitting the US.
But on a positive note, the data showed that wages growth had risen above the US Federal Reserve’s target.
“I think the Australian market is getting a bit of optimism from that – finally, we might have some wage inflation,” Mr Chanel said.
“More importantly, we saw the Chinese market up.
“The Chinese have been on holidays and we are seeing better volume coming out of the Chinese market.”
On the local bourse, among the big banks, ANZ added 0.8 per cent to $29.70, Westpac climbed 0.7 per cent to $32.36, and National Australia Bank added 1.2 per cent to $31.71.
Commonwealth Bank was the weakest of the pack as a statement of claim was filed with the Federal Court in relation to a shareholder class action against the lender.
CBA shares closed 0.5 per cent higher at $76.71.
In the resources sector, global miner BHP Billiton dipped 0.2 per cent to $26.56, Rio Tinto eased 0.1 per cent to $69.20, and Fortescue Metals retreated 2.9 per cent to $5.02.
Gold miner Newcrest lifted 1.0 per cent to $21.77 after announcing it will increase long-term incentives for Sandeep Biswas in a bid to keep the chief executive with the company.
In the energy sector, after a fall in the oil price of more than two per cent on Friday, Woodside Petroleum dropped 0.6 per cent to $28.85, Santos descended 1.0 per cent to $4.05 and Oil Search rose 0.8 per cent to $7.21.
Among other stocks, Australian almond farmer Select Harvests soared $1.07, or 25.5 per cent, to $5.27 after it rejected a $430.6 million takeover proposal by an Abu Dhabi-based sovereign wealth fund, saying the offer undervalued the company.
Engineering group WorleyParsons was in a trading halt, having last traded at $14.24.
WorleyParsons is seeking to raise $322 million to fund the acquisition of AFW UK Oil & Gas, which provides services to the oil and gas sector in the UK.
Local hotel operator Mantra Group surged 53 cents, or 16.41 per cent, to $3.76 after Mantra received a $1.18 billion takeover proposal from global hotels player Accor.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is slightly higher against its US counterpart, after the greenback slipped following a report that North Korea is preparing to test a long-range missile..
The Australian dollar was worth 77.66 US cents at 1630 AEDT, up from 77.64 US cents on Friday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 28.6 points, or 0.5 per cent, at 5,739.3 points at 1630 AEDT.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 27.7 points, or 0.48 per cent, at 5,805.1 points.
* The September SPI200 futures contract was up 23 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 5,720 points.
* National turnover was 3 billion securities traded worth $4.4 billion.
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