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Aust market back above 4,400 level

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SYDNEY, Nov 22 AAP

November 22 2012, 10:33AM

The Australian share market has broken back through the 4,400 point mark following a rise on Wall Street.

At 1021 AEDT on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 31.4 points, or 0.72 per cent, at 4,422.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 33 points, or 0.76 per cent, at 4,402.5 points.

On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was 36 points higher at 4,417 points, with 6,459 contracts traded.

Wall Street posted a slight gain overnight, boosted by news of a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Reactions were mixed to several pieces of economic data, with jobless claims down but still high, consumer confidence in November slipping more than expected, and leading economic indicators for October in line with expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday gained 0.38 per cent to 12,836.89, while the S&P 500 index added 0.23 per cent and the Nasdaq rose by 0.34 per cent.

IG Markets strategist Stan Shamu said the Australian market had been nudging the 4,400 mark for most of the week, after heavy falls in early November.

"That is now the key level to look out for in the near term, should the market manage to hold on to its early gains," he said.

With no local economic data scheduled for release on Thursday, many investors would be watching manufacturing data out of China later in the day for some direction.

"Of course, if we get a strong reading, this would help support the notion that China has stabilised and lift risk assets in Asian trade," Mr Shamu said.

Gains were made in most sectors of the market.

In resources, BHP Billiton was up 32 cents at $33.68 and Rio Tinto had gained 32 cents to $57.27.

Energy company Santos was up 22 cents, or 2.0 per cent, at $11.16 after forecasting a rise in production in 2013 as new projects come on line.

In other news, a move to restrict the operation of poker machines by Woolworths has been voted down by the retailers' shareholders.

Woolworths shares were up 24 cents at $28.72.

Elsewhere in the retail sector, David Jones shares bounced back slightly from Wednesday's losses caused by weaker than expected first quarter sales growth of 0.3 per cent.

David Jones shares were up four cents at $2.45.

National turnover at 1026 AEDT was 220.8 million securities worth $395.8 million.