Shares posts best gains in three months

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Petrina Berry
(Australian Associated Press)

The share market has posted its best daily gain since October as investors welcomed an end to the US government shutdown.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index lifted 0.75 per cent to 6,037 points, as energy producers and healthcare companies proved the best performers.

US senators have struck a deal to end the government shutdown, while forecasts of improving global growth and corporate earnings also contributed to a strong session for Wall Street.

Macquarie Private Wealth division director Lucinda Chan said the end to the three day government shutdown removed uncertainty that was behind recent falls on the local share market.

“The positive lead from the US and the resolution to the US government shutdown are behind the positive sentiment,” she said.

“All sectors are higher and volume was higher as most people have now returned from holidays.”

Higher oil prices lifted the energy sector, with Origin Energy up 3.1 per cent at $9.29, Woodside up 1.2 per cent at $33.48 and Santos 1.2 per cent higher at $5.18.

Medical respiratory products maker ResMed soared 8.4 per cent to $11.97 as demand for the company’s new range of sleep apnoea masks contributed to a 13 per cent jump in sales revenue in the second quarter of the financial year.

Elsewhere in the health sector, Ramsay Health Care was up 1.3 per cent at $68.59 and CSL gained 0.8 per cent to $146.50.

The big four banks were higher, with ANZ up 1.5 per cent at $28.73, Westpac rose 1.1 per cent to $30.89, National Australia Bank advanced 0.7 per cent to $28.73 and Commonwealth Bank gained 0.5 per cent to $79.25.

Insurance giant QBE recovered from its sharp fall in morning trade to shed 0.6 per cent to $10.43, after it flagged a full-year loss of about $US1.2 billion due to writedowns and cost blowouts related to wildfires in California, Hurricane Maria in the Caribbean and December storms in Australia.

Other insurance stocks were stronger, with Suncorp up 1.2 per cent at $13.76 and IAG up 0.4 per cent at $7.13.

The Australian dollar was above 80 US cents for most of the local session but fell back in afternoon trade be slightly weaker from Monday.


ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 gained 45.1 points, or 0.75 per cent, to 6,037 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index added 44.5 points, or 0.73 per cent, to 6,150.7 points.

* The SPI200 futures contract was up 48 points, or 0.81 per cent, at 5,986 points.

* National turnover was 3.8 billion securities traded worth $5.4 billion.


CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 79.90 US cents, from 79.94 US cents on Monday

* 88.56 Japanese yen, from 88.57 yen

* 65.18 euro cents, from 65.35 euro cents

* 57.15 British pence, from 57.66 pence

* 109.02 NZ cents, from 109.80 NZ cents


GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,335.57 per fine ounce, from $US1,331.71 per fine ounce on Monday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.083pct, from 2.104pct on Monday

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.7855pct, from 2.8146pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.165 (implying a yield of 2.835pct), from 97.135 (2.865pct) on Monday.

* March 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.735 (2.265pct), from 97.715 (2.285pct).

(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)

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