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Stronger miners help keep Australia shares steady

Australian share market remained steady on Friday with the S&P/ASX 200 index up by 0.16%.

By: Reuters | Sydney/wellington | Published: August 19, 2016 11:15:19 am
Australia, australia shares, australia share market, australia stocks, stocks, australia shares rise, australia shares fall, australia business, australia business news, australia market, australia economy, business news Australia: Shares in mining giant BHP Billiton, which reported a record loss on Tuesday, added 1.6 per cent. (Source: File Photo)

Mixed showings among mining and bank stocks kept the Australian share market mostly flat on Friday, with investors shrugging off disappointing financial results. The S&P/ASX 200 index was 0.16 per cent, or 9 points, higher at 5,516. Weak oil and gas prices hammered half-year profits at Australia’s Woodside Petroleum and Santos Ltd on Friday, but investors sent their shares higher as both companies reported progress on cost-cutting.

Woodside was trading 2 per cent firmer, while Santos gave up its gains and was down 0.2 per cent. Shares in mining giant BHP Billiton, which reported a record loss on Tuesday, added 1.6 per cent. “There has a swing back from the banks, which have had a stellar rise of late, to the resources stocks, which are leading the market today,” said James McGlew, head of stockbroking at Argonaut in Perth. But the rise in mining stocks wasn’t universal.

Whitehaven Coal dropped 13 per cent after rising sharply the day before after reporting better-than-expected annual profits. New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged higher by 3 points or 0.4 per cent to 7,388.12. The index was poised for a second weekly gain, headed for a rise of 0.2 per cent.

Chicken products producer Tegel Group led gains, rising 3.4 per cent, after New Zealand and Australia made a deal enabling the export of raw poultry products from New Zealand to Australia. Steel goods manufacturer Steel & Tube rose 1.3 per cent while consumer goods retailer the Warehouse was up 1.1 per cent. Tower Insurance rose 0.7 per cent, and dairy company A2 Milk was up 0.5 per cent. Power company Mercury New Zealand lost 1.1 per cent, while telecommunications company Spark fell 0.6 per cent.

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