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Late run sees ASX finish on a high

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Published on: Friday, January 29, 2016

SYDNEY, AAP - The Australian share market has raced home on a high note after enduring a fitful session of ups and downs. A strong late run from the big four banks helped steer the bourse out of the red after it was weaker for most of trade. Ailing heavyweights among the health, financials and the supermarkets weighed on the market for most of the day. Health tech giant CSL lost $3.14 to $104, while among the financials Macquarie Group lost $.187 to $71.58 and Magellan dropped $1.91 to $22.75.

The banks were largely mixed and flat before roaring into the green in the last leg. ANZ finished 14 cents higher at $24.18, Commonwealth Bank added 84 cents to $78.67, NAB lifted 56 cents to $27.66 and Westpac scored 37 cents at $30.85. "It was quite mixed today, no big surprises really to excite investors so the ASX/200 was going back and forth from being up a little and down slightly in the afternoon," CommSec markets analyst Steven Daghlian said.

The one surprise came when Japan's central bank introduced negative interest rates to spark inflation, sending local shares rocketing to their brief intraday high. However the market found consistent support from a rejuvenated energy sector and some pep among the miners.

Oil and gas stocks dominated the winners column with Santos leaping 22 cents to $3.16, Oil Search adding 40 cents to $6.50, Woodside Petroleum lifting $1.58 to $27.95 and Origin Energy jumping 23 cents to $4.10. BHP Billiton added 25 cents to $15.35, while Rio picked up 20 cents to $39.13.

However the standout was Fortescue Metals which added 21 cents to finish at $1.73 with investors rewarding the pure-play iron ore miner after it announced yesterday that it had paid down debt quicker than expected. Despite the positive note to the end of the month, Mr Daghlian noted that overall, the market had suffered a 6.1 per cent loss in January, making it the worst start to the year since 2010.


* On Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 29.3 points, or 0.59 per cent, at 5,005 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 28.5 points, or 0.57 per cent, at 5,056.6 points.

* The March share price index futures contract was up 40 points at 4,965 points, with 44,719 contracts traded.

* The price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,114.30 per fine ounce, down $5.50 on Thursday's price of $US1,119.80 per fine ounce.

* National turnover was 2.2 billion securities traded worth $7.2 billion.

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