Aust share market closes higher
Market watch top headlines
The Australian share market has closed at its highest level in more than four years, with reporting season delivering mostly positive results.
At the close on Tuesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index had lifted 18.5 points, or 0.37 per cent, to 5,081.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had added 18.1 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 5,101 points.
The S&P/ASX 200 closed at its highest level since September 2008.
On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was up 18 points at 5,060 points, with 21,613 contracts traded.
RBS Morgans senior private client adviser Bill Chatterton said there had been gains across all the sectors, with the materials sector performing particularly well.
"We're right in the middle of reporting season and so far we've had some disappointments in the odd one, but on balance it's been reasonably good," he said.
Europe's main stock markets mostly fell on Monday after a weekend meeting of the Group of 20 leading economies ended with Japan being spared an accusation of unfairly devaluing its currency.
Wall Street was closed for the President's Day public holiday.
Locally, BHP Billiton surged 33 cents to $39.00 and Fortescue gained five cents to $5.18 but Rio Tinto fell 38 cents to $70.51,
Beverage company Coca-Cola Amatil's announced its annual profit had fallen by 22 per cent as it deals with weak consumer spending and the high Australian dollar but its shares closed 27 cents higher at $13.90.
Engineering firm Monadelphous said it continued to benefit from massive investments in resource projects, posting a record $79.1 million result in the first half of the 2012/13 financial year.
However, Monadelphous shares fell $1.68 to $26.17.
Steel and mining group Arrium fell further into the red as the high Australian dollar and weak construction markets cause a massive writedown on its assets which caused its shares to fall 2.5 cents to $1.235.
Ports and rail operator Asciano has increased its first half profit by 74 per cent and forecast more earnings growth in the second half of the financial year, leading its shares to lift 10 cents to $5.35.
In economics news the Reserve Bank of Australia released the minutes of its February meeting where it kept the cash rate at three per cent.
The minutes indicated the RBA was waiting to see how recent interest rate cuts would flow through the economy before deciding if it needs to cut the cash rate further in 2013.
Sydney gold closed at $US1,613.17 down $US2.68 from Monday's close of $US1,615.85.
Preliminary national turnover was 1.744 billion securities worth $4.904 billion, with 460 stocks up, 546 down and 361 unchanged.