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Local shares climb with most sectors up


The Australian share market has built on its morning momentum with gains in nearly every sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 stock index was up 29.4 points, or 0.5 per cent, at 5,975.1 points at 1200 AEDT.

Strength across the big four banks was a bright spot, with Westpac leading the pack, up 1.66 per cent, at $31.48.

ANZ was also strong, putting on 1.04 per cent, while National Australia Bank gained 0.9 per cent and Commonwealth Bank improved 0.4 per cent.

Energy stocks turned around its slow start, following a slide in oil price to a two-year low.

Shares in Santos were up 1.8 per cent, Origin climbed one per cent, Oil Search improved 0.28 per cent and Woodside Petroleum gained 0.22 per cent.

The miners didn't fare as well: BHP Billiton was down 0.2 per cent, and South 32 fell 1.4 per cent, but Rio Tinto was up 0.7 per cent after analysts raised their valuation for the stock.

In the news, Nufarm shares have slipped or 2.2 per cent, to $8.59 after the agricultural chemicals supplier warned that half-year earnings would suffer from weak November trade and the shutdown of manufacturing facilities outside Melbourne.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has continued its slide against a stronger greenback.

The local currency was trading at 75.44 US cents at 1200 AEDT on Thursday, from 75.84 on Wednesday.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 29.4 points, or 0.49 per cent, at 5,975.1 points

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 26.8 points, or 0.44 per cent, at 6,056.7 points

* The SPI200 futures contract was up 32 points, or 0.54 per cent, at 5,983 points

* National turnover was 1.71 billion securities traded worth $1.77 billion


One Australian dollar buys:

* 75.44 US cents, from 75.84 US cents on Wednesday

* 84.84 Japanese yen, from 84.99 yen

* 63.94 euro cents, from 64.03 euro cents

* 56.36 British pence, from 56.46 pence

* 109.77 NZ cents, from 109.78 NZ cents


The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1200 AEDT was $US1,262.49 per fine ounce, from $US1,267.45 per fine ounce on Wednesday.


* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.8508pct, from 1.8527pct on Wednesday

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.4858pct, from 2.4701pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* December 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.455 (implying a yield of 2.545pct) from 97.475 (2.525pct) on Wednesday

* December 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.04 (1.96pct), from 98.040 (1.960pct).

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