ASX closes 0.19pc up, iron ore miners flat

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ASX closes 0.19pc up, iron ore miners flat

Investors in the Australian share market have notched a sixth consecutive session of gains, albeit not by much, after mixed leads from the US.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed higher by 12.7 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 6687.7 on Tuesday.

The All Ordinaries added 13.3 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 6922.2.

The indices moved little throughout the session.

Burman Invest chief investment officer Julia Lee was more upbeat about the ASX result than the figures might suggest.

“It’s a good result given the mixed leads from Wall Street,” she said.

Ms Lee noted US futures trading had been lower as well.

The mixed US market results were shaped by coronavirus worries. America’s most populous state, California, compelled most residents to stay home after it reported a record 30,000-plus new infections.

The decision took investors’ attention from continuing negotiations between US politicians for an economic stimulus package.

Among the sectors, Ms Lee said defensive stocks did best.

These are stocks which provide consistent returns despite the state of the market.

One of those defensive sectors, consumer staples, was best and higher by 1.08 per cent.

“It’s mainly miners holding down the market today,” Ms Lee said.

Investors indeed appeared to have had enough of mining stocks after plenty of buying in the past week due to high iron ore prices. The materials sector was down 0.02 per cent.

BHP lost 0.33 per cent to $42.25, Rio Tinto shed 0.83 per cent to $115.02 while Fortescue rose 0.33 per cent to $21.46.

There was good news for the economy as the ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index rose by a further 1.7 per cent in the past week to 109.3, its highest level for 2020.

National Australia Bank’s business survey showed confidence rising for a fourth straight month in November, and business conditions stand at above-average levels.

Home prices climbed 0.8 per cent for the September quarter, according to Bureau of Statistics data. All capital cities had higher prices except for Melbourne as it battled coronavirus.

On the ASX, Bank of Queensland had its annual general meeting and revealed that customers who deferred loan repayments due to the pandemic have largely resumed paying back loans.

Only three per cent ($889 million) of the housing loan portfolio had payments deferred as of November 30, while there was also three per cent ($390 million) with deferrals in small to medium business loans.

Shares closed lower by 1.02 per cent to $7.80.

Its main rivals had varying success. ANZ was up 0.26 per cent to $23.40, the Commonwealth gained 1.33 per cent to $81.81, NAB rose 0.26 per cent to $23.31 and Westpac fell 0.64 per cent to $20.14.

Woodside Petroleum chief executive Peter Coleman will retire having been in the job for more than 10 years.

Woodside is looking for a replacement.

Shares closed down 0.17 per cent to $23.11.

On Wednesday, jobs data for the September quarter will be published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The data will show where jobs remain in the COVID-hit economy, how industries are faring and how many hours people are working.

Meanwhile Rio Tinto is expected to come under criticism in a federal parliamentary report into the miner’s destruction of the sacred Juukan Gorge caves.

The Northern Australia Committee will on Wednesday hand down its interim report into the blast, having considered more than 140 submissions and evidence from mining industry stakeholders and Indigenous groups.

The Aussie dollar was buying 74.24 US cents at 1707 AEDT, lower from 74.30 US cents at Monday’s close.

ON THE ASX

* The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed higher by 12.7 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 6687.7 on Tuesday.

* The All Ordinaries added 13.3 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 6922.2.

* At 1707 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was even at 6688.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 74.24 US cents, from 74.13 cents on Monday

* 77.25 Japanese yen, from 77.35 yen

* 61.24 Euro cents, from 61.25 cents

* 55.55 British pence, from 55.39 pence

* 105.46 NZ cents, from 105.48 cents.

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