Aust shares open almost 1% higher
Market watch top headlines
SYDNEY, July 4 AAP
July 04 2012, 10:49AM
The Australian sharemarket has opened more than three quarters of a per cent higher, following strong leads on Wall Street.
At 1017 AEST on Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 31.6 points, or 0.77 per cent, at 4,158.8, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 31.4 points, or 0.75 per cent, at 4,197.8.
On the ASX 24, the September share price index futures contract was up 29 points at 4,127, with 6,884 contracts traded.
RBS Morgans Brisbane equities director Bill Chatterton said the local market was following strong gains on Wall Street.
"It's looking to be a good day," he said.
"The American market was up 72 points, so we've had a pretty good lead from them. I think there's broader across-the-board interest in our market today."
US stocks have racked up solid gains in a holiday-shortened trading session, boosted by reports of strong June sales from the leading US car manufacturers.
Trade closed at 1700 Tuesday GMT (0300 Wednesday AEST), after only three and a half hours, to allow for travel ahead of the July 4th Independence Day holiday.
At the finish, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 72.05 points (0.56 per cent) to 12,943.44.
European stocks and the euro rose on prospects that central banks would act to boost economies, while Barclays shares jumped after its chief executive resigned amid an interest rate rigging scandal.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index added 0.83 per cent to 5,687.73 points and Paris' CAC 40 gained 0.96 per cent to 3,271.20 points.
In local economic news on Wednesday, new figures show Australia's services sector continued to contract in June but at a much slower pace than in previous months, a sign the struggling industry may have turned a corner.
Australian Industry Group/Commonwealth Bank Australian Performance of Services Index (PSI) rose by 5.3 points to 48.8 in June. A reading of below 50 indicates a contraction.
The mining giants were all higher. BHP Billiton was up 65 cents to $32.45 and Rio Tinto was $1.08 higher at $58.50.
The four major banks were mixed.
ANZ was two cents higher at $22.28, National Australia Bank was 18 cents up at $23.86, Westpac gained one cent to $21.56 and Commonwealth Bank was 15 cents higher at $53.47.
National turnover was 222 million securities worth $417 million, with 391 stocks up, 100 down and 209 unchanged.