The Australian share market has started 2014 on the right note, closing higher by 0.3 per cent, following a 15 per cent annual gain in 2013.
Nearly every sector moved higher today with the exception of the health care and energy sectors which were slightly lower.
Investors were playing catch-up to a good end to 2013 for the US Dow Jones Index, which added 26.5 per cent last year. The Chinese share market was the only major market opened on New Year's Day and also performed well.
Last week's biggest loser of the ASX 200 Silverlake Resources (SLR) was a standout today, rising 18.7 per cent to close at 63.5c.
PMIs (Performance of Manufacturing Indices) were released today. Manufacturing activity in Australia is still failing to respond to a weaker exchange rate and record low interest rates. The index was unchanged at 44.3 points in December. It was the second month in a row the index was below 50, indicating activity in the sector is contracting.
The HSBC Chinese PMI for December fell to a three month low of 50.5 in December.
The RP Data - Rismark Home Value Index reported that capital city home prices rose by 1.4 per cent in December to be up 9.8 per cent over the year. Home prices are up 8.4 per cent in the past seven months, marking the biggest gains for a similar period in over four years.
On the market overall, a total of 1.07 billion shares changed hands, with a value of $1.97 billion. 520 shares were up, 335 were down and 331 were unchanged.
At 4.30pm AEDT the SFE 200 Futures Index was at 5344, up 26 points.
The Australian dollar ended the day's trade at US89.11c.
Ahead tonight, manufacturing and construction spending data is released in the US.
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