Australian shares closed firmly higher on Wednesday as investor sentiment lifted on the back of positive signs from US-China trade negotiations.
The S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 77.6 points, or 1.4 per cent, to 5653.5 while the broader All Ordinaries closed 76.1 points, or 1.4 per cent, higher at 5727.3.
Global markets rose on Tuesday and Wednesday following positive talks between the US and China which saw Beijing soften its tariffs on US auto imports.
“Any improvement in the US-China relationship will be warmly welcomed by markets and the announcement on auto tariffs does illustrate that there is an upside,” said J.P. Morgan Asset Management global market strategist Kerry Craig. “However, we wouldn’t be surprised to see things get worse before they get better.”
The major banks lifted through the session to close modestly higher. Commonwealth Bank rose 2.4 per cent to $70.08, ANZ advanced 1.7 per cent to $25.20, NAB closed 1.7 per cent higher at $23.89 and Westpac lifted 1.6 per cent to $25.47, following its AGM on Wednesday.
The large material stocks also closed higher, led by BHP Billiton who advanced 1.5 per cent to $32.19. Rio Tinto closed 1.7 per cent higher at $74.10, Fortescue Metal Group rose 0.5 per cent to $4.15 and South32 climbed 2.9 per cent to $3.18.
A rebound in oil prices lifted the local energy sector on Wednesday. Woodside Petroleum rose 2.3 per cent to $31.61, Origin Energy lifted 3.6 per cent to $7.11 and AGL Energy shares closed 1.6 per cent higher at $19.57.
Altium shares closed 5.6 per cent higher at $21.82 after Goldman Sachs initiated coverage on the printed circuit board design software company with a ‘buy’ recommendation. The broker said it expected the company’s market share was growing, the total addressable market was expanding and its attractive valuation. The broker gave Altium a $28.50 price target..
Galaxy Resources shares rose 5.8 per cent to $2.54 after the company announced it had intersected a new pegmatite lode at its Mt. Cattlin mine in Western Australia.
Gold miners were among the worst performers on the market on Wednesday as improved investor sentiment dampened safe-haven appetite. St Barbara fell 3.7 per cent to $4.47, Regis Resources slid 3.1 per cent to $4.32, Northern Star Resources closed 2.5 per cent lower at $8.32, Evolution Mining slipped 2.1 per cent to $3.31 and Newcrest Mining closed trade at $20.95, down 0.6 per cent.