Banks miners firm up

Published in the Herald Sun, October 2010

The Australian share market ended firmly higher with a strong result from ANZ Bank, and resurgent miners helping to buoy the bourse.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 36.8 points, or 0.79 per cent, to 4684.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 32.3 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 4752.8.

On the ASX24, the December share price index futures contract was 41 points higher at 4684, with 30,254 contracts traded.

Rio Tinto recovered from its losses and led the ASX 200 higher, adding $1.44, or 1.75 per cent, to $83.79.

BHP Billiton added 50c, or 1.21 per cent, to $41.99.

Among the major banks, ANZ added 69c, or 2.87 percent, to $24.73 after reporting a record $5.133 billion cash profit for fiscal 2010.

National Australia Bank gained 8c to $25.34, while Commonwealth closed 23c weaker at $49.32 and Westpac fell 7c to $22.95.

Wealth Within technical analyst Janine Cox said the market was favouring the strategies of ANZ and NAB, which had less exposure to the residential property market than their major rivals.

The operator of the Australian stock exchange, ASX Ltd, closed 56c higher, or 1.5 per cent, at $37.86.

On Monday, ASX climbed 24.22 per cent to $43.43, following news of a merger proposal with the Singapore exchange but had trended down since.

Construction and contract mining giant Leighton Holdings was the day's worst performer, falling 34c to $36.59.

Electrical and furniture retailer Harvey Norman reported a 0.6 per cent drop in like-for-like global sales in the September 2010 quarter. Shares in Harvey Norman lost 5c to $3.38.

Conquest Mining said its takeover of North Queensland Metals and moves to fully control the Pajingo mine have been a breakthrough in efforts to become a mid-tier gold producer.

Shares in Conquest gained 2.5c to 56c.

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