Global growth forecasts lift share market

Trevor Chappell
(Australian Associated Press)

The Australian share market has gained ground due to a positive lead from overseas markets, an upgrade of the International Monetary Fund’s global economic growth forecasts, and stronger prices for copper and oil.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 0.6 per cent to 5,772.1 points, the first time it has broken through the technical hurdle of 5,750 points in almost two months, OptionsXpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said.

“We’ve got all sectors except materials pretty well much firing on all cylinders, so there’s plenty of green across the screen,” he said.

“We had a record lead-in from Wall Street, we had the IMF upgrading global growth forecasts, and a softer US dollar as well, which led us in nicely on oil and copper.”

The IMF has raised its forecast for global growth to 3.6 per cent in 2017 and 3.7 per cent in 2018 – up 0.1 per cent for both years, and marking the fastest growth since 2010.

Mr Le Brun said trading volumes were still low, and investors are waiting on the quarterly company earnings season in the US and the local annual general meeting season, which begins next week.

In the resources sector, BHP Billiton added 0.5 per cent to $26.63, Rio Tinto eased 0.6 per cent to $68.77, and Fortescue Metals fell 1.8 per cent to $4.96.

Oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum lifted 1.3 per cent to $29.06, Santos gained 0.7 per cent to $4.07 and Oil Search ascended 0.4 per cent to $7.11.

The major banks were slightly higher, with Westpac the strongest, adding 0.7 per cent to $32.64, while Commonwealth Bank was the weakest, remaining steady at $76.35.

The consumer discretionary sector was one of the market’s best performers, as Flight Centre gained four per cent to $45.42, Domino’s Pizza gained 3.1 per cent to $46.79 and The Star Entertainment Group was 2.5 per cent higher at $5.26.

Infant milk formula supplier Bellamy’s Australia surged $1.05, or 12 per cent, to $9.78 after it ended the corporate regulator’s investigation into its market disclosures in 2016 by paying a fine of $66,000, without admitting guilt or liability.

The Australian dollar rose past 78 US cents mark in morning trade but eased in the afternoon as buying in the US dollar picked up, and was trading at 77.85 US cents at 1630 AEDT, from 77.86 US cents on Tuesday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 34 points, or 0.59 per cent, at 5,772.1 points at 1630 AEDT.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 33.7 points, or 0.58 per cent, at 5,840.8 points.

* The September SPI200 futures contract was up 25 points, or 0.44 per cent, at 5,743 points.

* National turnover was 3.6 billion securities traded worth $5.2 billion.

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