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Australian shares extend morning gains

 

The Australian share market has extended morning gains with strength from the miners offsetting weakness in the financial and retail sectors.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 0.17 per cent at 6,078 points at 1200 AEDT, with the mining sector the best performer.

Mining giant BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were each up two per cent, while Fortescue Metals had gained 1.3 per cent.

The big energy companies were mixed with Woodside Petroleum up 0.3 per cent and Oil Search 0.2 per cent higher, while Origin Energy had slipped 1.2 per cent and Santos 1.3 per cent lower.

Explosives and fertiliser maker Incitec Pivot shed 3.9 per cent to $3.71 after warning its full-year profits over the next four years will take an $81 million hit as its contract with Gina Rinehart's Roy Hill Iron Ore mine ends.

The big four banks were mixed with ANZ and Commonwealth Bank and Westpac all weaker, while National Australia Bank rose 0.4 per cent to $29.65.

Woolworths and Wesfarmers were both lower, down 0.8 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively, while Domino's Pizza shed 0.4 per cent.

Bucking the trend for the retailers was JB Hi-Fi which has continued its strong run from Thursday following a Morgan Stanley broker upgrade. Its shares were 1.3 per cent higher at $28.365.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is marching toward 79 US cents, extending the gains it made following Thursday's better-than-expected retail trade figures for November.

The local currency was trading at 78.97 US cents at 1200 AEDT on Friday, up from 78.74 on Thursday.

ON THE ASX AT 1200 AEDT:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 10.9 points, or 0.18 per cent, at 6,078.5 points

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 9.2 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 6,185.4 points

* The SPI200 futures contract was up 16 points, or 0.27 per cent, at 6,029 points

* National turnover was 1.2 billion securities traded worth $1.3 billion

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 78.97 US cents, from 78.74 on Thursday

* 87.83 Japanese yen, from 88.04 yen

* 65.49 euro cents, from 65.87 euro cents

* 58.25 British pence, from 58.33 pence

* 108.64 NZ cents, from 109.41 cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1200 AEDT was $US1,323.98 per fine ounce, from $US1,317.78 per fine ounce on Thursday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.0212pct, from 2.0335pct

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.6958pct, from 2.6814pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.240 (implying a yield of 2.760pct), from 97.265 (implying a yield of 2.735pct) on Thursday

* March 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.825 (2.175pct), unchanged

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