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Banks, miners, healthcare lift Aust market

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Published on: Friday, May 22, 2015

By AAP
The Australian share market has closed higher as bargain hunters piled into most of the major banks, and the big miners found support from investors betting on further economic stimulus measures in China.
CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said the local bourse in the past few days had been in danger of falling below the 5,600 point level, which he said would have been a bad sign.
"We've pulled back from the brink, and there seem to be a few different factors in play here," Mr McCarthy said.
He said the share price of bionic ear implants supplier Cochlear had surged on news that a competitor had stopped taking market share from the Australian biotech, resulting in a "halo" effect for other healthcare stocks.
Energy stocks benefited as investors speculated that lower oil inventory levels in the US could push prices higher in the near term.
Mr McCarthy said three of the major banks found support given their current lower price levels.
Mining stocks benefited as Chinese manufacturing figures missed analysts' expectations, boosting the prospect of further stimulus measures in the world's second largest economy.
Building materials supplier James Hardie also boosted the market as a near tripling of its annual profit pushed up the company's shares by more than 11 per cent.
Among the major banks, Commonwealth Bank rose $1.07 to $83.56, ANZ lifted 33 cents to $32.22, Westpac added 39 cents to $32.65, but National Australia Bank fell 18 cents to $33.38.
In the resources sector, global miner BHP Billiton was up 42 cents at $29.24, its spinoff South32 nudged up one cent to $2.37, Rio Tinto gained 87 cents to $56.90, and Fortescue Metals put on five cents at $2.12.
In the healthcare sector, blood products and vaccines supplier CSL advanced $1.96 to $91.64, and Cochlear surged $4.08 to $88.45.
James Hardie ascended $1.77 to $16.99 after a big rise in annual profit plus the payment of a special dividend and announcement of another share buyback.
KEY FACTS
  • At 1617 AEST on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 52 points, or 0.93 per cent, at 5,662.3 points.
  • The broader All Ordinaries index was up 49.6 points, or 0.88 per cent, at 5,663.6 points.
  • The June share price index futures contract was 54 points higher at 5,659 points, with 24,789 contracts traded.
  • National turnover was 1.9 billion securities worth $5.09 billion.

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