Despite pulling away from fresh five-year highs reached earlier in the session, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) still ended 0.5 per cent higher by the close. The miners were the biggest contributors to the gains. BHP Billiton (BHP), which is scheduled to issue its quarterly production numbers tomorrow, rose by 1.26 per cent today.
Daniel Munoz / Reuters
Office workers are reflected on a screen display as they walk past the Australian Securities Exchange in this file photo
The smaller Rio Tinto (RIO) edged higher by 0.5 per cent today after jumping by 3 per cent last week. Australia's second largest miner recorded a 4 per cent rise in iron ore shipments last quarter and a 23 per cent jump in mined copper. Tomorrow, Oil Search will issue its third quarter production numbers. On Wednesday, Origin Energy will hold its AGM, while BHP will speak to its shareholders on Thursday.
The major banks ended mostly higher, with National Australia Bank (NAB) the only big player to end a touch lower. ANZ Banking Group (ANZ) finished 0.82 per cent or 26 cents higher to $32.12.
On the economic front, the CBA Business Sales indicator out earlier in the day showed that economy wide spending eased slightly in September after 13 months of gains. CommSec's Chief Economist, Craig James said that "Spending fell by 0.1 per cent in the month after lifting 0.1 per cent in August and rising by 0.2 per cent in July. It was the fifth decline in the pace of sales after spending posted a solid 1.1 per cent gain in April. The question is whether the slowdown in spending is a pause for breath similar to the February- July 2012 experience or something entirely different."
According to a weekly report issued by the Australian Institute of Petroleum, the average price of unleaded petrol rose by 0.1 cents per litre to 151.0 cents last week. A strong Australian dollar together with a widening margin makes a 2-3 cent per litre fall in petrol prices a real possibility over the next fortnight.
At the close, 1.85 billion shares changed hands, worth $3.73 billion. 575 stocks finished higher, 408 ended in the red and 316 closed flat.
Looking ahead, FOMC Member Evans will be speaking tonight. Next week's meeting of the FOMC is much anticipated as Chairman Ben Bernanke will have a chance to discuss the Fed's stance on stimulus.
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