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(Australian Associated Press)
The share market remains at a two-year high after a third straight day of gains, thanks to strong demand for financial and energy companies.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 0.3 per cent, after rising 0.9 and 0.1 per cent in the previous two trading sessions.
The Australian dollar improved to return above 75 US cents.
CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner said the financial sector of the share market found support for a second straight day as investors expect solid financial results from the three big banks set to report in May.
“Whilst we’re not talking spectacular growth, I think the recent opportunities to increase interest rates have probably helped their margins a bit on the one hand, and on the other hand there’s no sign of any difficulties in property that’s going to cause bad debt problems,” he said.
Global markets are also looking forward to a “pretty positive lead” from the US profit reporting season, which starts this week, and US interest rates remain low, Mr Spooner said.
Suncorp rose two per cent, while Westpac, National Australia Bank and QBE Insurance rose more than one per cent.
Commonwealth Bank, which does not report financial results in May, gained 0.7 per cent, and ANZ was 0.4 per cent stronger.
The energy sector was boosted by rising oil prices, amid Middle East supply concerns, Mr Spooner said.
Woodside Petroleum gained 1.7 per cent, Oil Search rose 0.5 per cent and engineer WorleyParsons jumped by two per cent.
Miners were mixed, with Rio Tinto up two per cent and Orica up 1.3 per cent, while BHP Billiton fell 1.2 per cent after rallying on Monday following a surprising restructuring plan put forward by activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors.
BHP on Tuesday rebuffed Elliott’s proposal to restructure its business by axing its dual Australia-UK listing and spinning off its petroleum business.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 gained 16.4 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 5,929.3 points.
* The broader All Ordinaries index gained 15.7 points, 0.26 per cent, to 5,964.6 points.
* The June SPI200 futures contract was up 17 points, 0.29 per cent, at 5,918.
* National turnover was 2.5 billion securities traded worth $5.8 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 75.03 US cents, from 74.88 US cents on Monday
* 82.93 Japanese yen, from 83.32 yen
* 70.85 euro cents, from 70.77 euro cents
* 60.43 British pence, from 60.42
* 107.97 New Zealand cents, from 107.82 NZ cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,257.06 per fine ounce, up $US3.12 from $US1,253.94 on Monday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:
* CGS 5.25 per cent March 2019, 1.655pct, steady from Monday
* CGS 4.25pct April 2026, 2.492pct, down from 2.519pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* June 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.44 (implying a yield of 2.56pct), up from 97.395 (2.605pct) on Monday.
* June 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.19 (1.81pct), up from 98.18 (1.82pct)
(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEST previous local session, bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session)