Australian shares hit 17-month high

The Australian share market has hit a 17-month high as retailers rose on Christmas shopping figures and Fortescue Metals announcing it would restart a major project.

Fortescue rose 4.1% after say it will resume work expanding the $A1.1 billion Kings deposit at its Solomon iron ore mining hub in the Pilbara next month January because of a pick up in commodity prices.

Iron ore prices have risen from a low of $US86.70 on September 5 to about $US135 this week. Other mining companies, including Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, also climbed.

Retail stocks advanced as shoppers lapped up post-Christmas sales. Department stores Myer and David Jones gained 2.9% and 3%, respectively. Electrical retailer Harvey Norman climbed 1.6% and JB Hi-Fi was up 0.3%.

The banks put in a mixed performance. National Australia Bank rose 0.3%, while Westpac, ANZ and Commonwealth Bank dropped 0.2-0.3%.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 12.8 points, or 0.3%, at 4648, its highest closing level since July 8, 2011.

The broader All Ordinaries index was up 0.3%, at 4661.4, its highest since July 22, 2011.

• New Zealand stocks rose in light holiday trading, helped by gains in Fletcher Building. Hellaby Holdings rose 15c to $3.20 after announcing its 85% shareholding in Contract Resources.

The NZX 50 Index rose 7.627 points, or 0.2%, to 4065.447. Within the index, 20 stocks rose, 18 fell and 13 were unchanged. Turnover was a lower-than-average $46 million.


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NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.6584 -0.0016 -0.24%
AUD 0.9023 -0.0028 -0.31%
EUR 0.5993 -0.0041 -0.68%
GBP 0.4218 -0.0012 -0.28%
HKD 5.1100 -0.0061 -0.12%
JPY 81.6180 -0.2810 -0.34%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1094.9 6.310 2015-07-31T00:
Oil Brent 52.2 -1.100 2015-07-31T00:
Oil Nymex 47.1 -1.410 2015-07-31T00:
Silver Index 14.8 0.060 2015-07-31T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 5891.9 5937.6 5891.9 0.49%
NASDAQ 5148.2 5155.0 5128.8 -0.01%
DAX 11271.3 11309.0 11257.1 0.46%
DJI 17755.9 17783.6 17746.0 -0.32%
FTSE 6668.9 6705.4 6668.9 0.41%
HKSE 24650.9 24661.2 24498.0 0.56%
NI225 20506.5 20585.2 20522.8 0.30%