RTTNews - The Australian stock market managed to end in positive territory on Friday amid volatile trading as traders preferred to lock in gains following a recent rally which helped the index decisively rise past the psychological 4,000-mark. Positive economic data from China helped limit the downside on increasing optimism that China might take the lead in taking the global economy out of the recession Underlying optimism about economic recovery and emerging signs of revival in the economy, coupled with positive closing on Wall Street Thursday, helped lift market sentiment.
In the U.S., traders were presented with mixed economic data. A report from the Commerce Department revealed that retail sales rose 0.5% in May following a revised 0.2% decrease in April. Economists had expected sales to increase by 0.5% compared to the 0.4% decrease originally reported for the previous month. In a separate report, the U.S. Labor Department revealed that initial jobless claims, a closely watched gauge of layoffs, came in at 601,000 for the week ended at June 6th. This was down 24,000 from the previous week's revised level of 625,000. However, continuing claims, which measure the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment help, rose to 6.816 million in the week ended May 30th. Due to an upward revision to the previous week's figure, continuing claims rose to a new record high for the 19th consecutive week.
Traders also digested the results of the Treasury Department's auction of $11.0 billion worth of thirty-year bonds. The sale drew a high-yield of 4.72%, its highest level since August of 2007 but below estimates of 4.80%.
The Dow closed up 31.90 points or 0.4% at 8,771, the Nasdaq closed up 9.29 points or 0.5% at 1,862 and the S&P 500 closed up 5.74 points or 0.6% at 945.
The All Ordinaries Index opened slightly lower at 4,045 compared to its previous close at 4,047 and moved higher on positive cues from Wall Street. However, profit taking at higher levels ahead of the weekend trimmed the gains, with the index retreating back to the unchanged line in the morning session. Despite the choppiness thereafter, positive economic data from China helped the market to end with a gain of 14.80 points, or 0.37% at 4,062. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index followed a similar trend and ended higher at 4,062, a gain of 15.00 points or 0.37%.
Crude oil prices ended lower with a loss of $0.72 at $71.96 a barrel in Asian trading, after advancing $1.36 to $72.68 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday.
Metal stocks advanced following the better than expected economic data from China on expectations of increased demand from the third's largest economy in the World. The Statistics Bureau in China revealed that retail sales in the country rose 15.2% in May.
Oz Minerals surged more than 17% after the shareholders of the company approved a proposals to sell its assets to China MinMetals Corp. Mincor Resources gained 2.99% following the rise in zinc prices in the International market.
Mining stocks, however, ended mixed on profit taking. BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, declined 0.60%, while rival company Rio Tinto managed to end in positive territory with a marginal gain of 0.19%.
Gold stocks also ended mixed amid profit taking. While Lihir Gold shed 1.0%, Sino Gold ended in positive territory with a marginal gain of 0.50%. Newcrest Mining ended unchanged from its previous close amid volatile trading.
In the oil space, Woodside Petroleum edged up 0.07%, Santos declined sharply by 2.99% and Oil Search fell 2.13%.
Among financial stocks, ANZ Bank gained 2.49%, Commonwealth Bank added 0.96%, and Westpac Banking rose 0.91%. National Australia Bank ended the day unchanged from its previous close amid profit trading.
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