The Australian sharemarket is improving for the fourth straight day. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is up 0.6 per cent, taking the gains this week to around 3.25 per cent. If the gains extend a little further this afternoon, this will end up being the best week since December 2011.
Daniel Munoz / Reuters
Office workers are reflected on a screen display as they walk past the Australian Securities Exchange in this file photo
Markets around the world have been boosted by the Federal Reserve saying it's unlikely to raise rates for a long time. The US central bank is expected to keep a very accommodative stance on rates until the US economy shows further signs of improvement.
The energy sector has been the only sector flirting with negative territory today, with oil prices sliding overnight. Woodside Petroleum (WPL), Australia's second largest energy stock is still up by 0.7 per cent. The oil and gas producers are having the best month in 1.5 years, thanks partly to a 9 per cent rise in oil prices since the start of July.
The underperforming miners are leading the gains, with BHP Billiton (BHP) up 2.28 per cent while the smaller Rio Tinto (RIO) is 1.8 per cent higher. Iron ore miner, Fortescue Metals (FMG) is 3.9 per cent stronger.
Gold miner, Newcrest Mining (NCM) is up 7.6 per cent, rising for the third day. On Thursday, the struggling precious metal producer told some workers at a West Australian mine they might lose their jobs. The 23 per cent slump in gold prices this year has created a more challenging operating environment for the country's biggest gold producer.
Oil refiner, Caltex (CTX) is conducting a clean-up after around 130,000 litres of fuel escaped a Sydney refinery. CTX is still up 0.8 per cent today but is down 1.7 per cent this year.
At 11.30am (AEST), a report showed that the number of new home loans to owner occupiers rose by a less than expected 1.8 per cent in May. The Aussie dollar buys US91.7 cents.
Last night, US shares cracked through all-time highs, with the DOW jumping by 1.1 per cent and 18 per cent this year.
At lunch, 774.6 million shares have changed hands, worth $1.84 billion. 507 stocks are higher, 224 are in the red and 288 are flat.
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