Aust shares set for positive close to financial year

Derek Rose |

Every sector of the ASX except mining was higher at midday, with utilities the biggest gainer.
Every sector of the ASX except mining was higher at midday, with utilities the biggest gainer.

The local share market is on track to finish the week, month and financial year on a high note.

At noon AEST on Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 57.9 points, or 0.75 per cent, to 7,817, while the broader All Ordinaries had gained 58 points, or 0.72 per cent, to 8,060.8.

With a few hours of trading left in June, the ASX200 index was up 0.2 per cent for the week, 1.4 per cent for the month, 2.9 per cent so far in the year and 8.4 per cent for the financial year, although down 1.1 per cent for the quarter.

IG market analyst Tony Sycamore said that while the ASX200’s gains for 2023/24 weren’t as spectacular as the 32 per cent rise for the Nasdaq or the 19 per cent rise for the Nikkei during the same period, they were significantly better than what could have been earned from leaving money in a term deposit.

Every sector except mining was higher at midday, with utilities the biggest gainer, up 1.4 per cent as AGL added 1.8 per cent.

In the financial sector, IAG had added 7.0 per cent to $7.125 as the insurance giant announced it had purchased reinsurance protection from global insurers to mitigate natural perils volatility for the next five years.

IAG managing director and chief executive Nick Hawkins said the agreement with Berkshire Hathaway and Canada Life Reinsurance would provide IAG with a strong capital base from which to continue to develop its business.

Suncorp was up 4.7 per cent to $17.59 and ANZ was down 0.1 per cent to $28.26 after Treasurer Jim Chalmers approved the Suncorp’s $5 billion sale of its banking arm to ANZ.

“This is a significant milestone in our plans to expand our presence in Queensland and bring the best of ANZ to Suncorp Bank customers,” ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott said.

The other big retail banks with higher, with Westpac up 0.3 per cent, CBA adding 0.2 per cent and NAB advancing 0.4 per cent.

In the heavyweight mining sector, losses for the iron ore giants were outweighing gains by the goldminers.

Rio Tinto had dropped 1.1 per cent, Fortescue had dropped 0.9 per cent and BHP had edged 0.2 per cent lower, while Newmont had added 1.4 per cent, Perseus had grown 1.3 per cent and De Grey Mining had climbed 3.9 per cent after lining up $1 billion in financing to develop its Hemi gold project in WA.

In the property sector, Mirvac had grown 4.6 per cent to $1.8925 after the real estate developer said it had completed the sales of $1 billion in assets, including 367 Collins Street in Melbourne, one of the city’s most prominent office towers.

The Australian dollar was buying 66.36 US cents, from 66.67 US cents at Thursday’s ASX close.