EVENING REPORT (5pm AEST)
The Australian share market rose in thin trading volumes on the first day of the shortened trading week. Markets were closed yesterday for the Easter Monday holiday and will be shut again on Friday for Anzac Day.
The market continued to test near six year highs, with a number of stocks including Woolworths (WOW), Westpac (WBC) and ANZ Bank (NAZ) closing at all-time highs.
The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) rose 22.3pts or 0.4 per cent to finish at 5467.1 points, with solid buying in energy and financial stocks.
The banking share price index was on track to fresh record highs today. Total returns on banking shares have risen 20 per cent over the past year.
Mining players came under some pressure on generally weaker commodity prices, particularly a sharp fall in the gold price. In Asian trade the Comex contract was slightly higher at US$1290 an ounce. Shares in Newcrest Mining (NCM) eased by 2.2 per cent on Tuesday to $10.02, while AngloGold Ashanti (AGG) was lower by almost 5 per cent to $3.68 and Evolution Mining (EVN) fell 7.3 per cent to 82.5 cents.
Other mining players also held the market back from further gains, with Rio Tinto (RIO) shares lower by almost one per cent to $62.74.
In company news, Oil Search delivered a 1Q production update and said its PNG LNG project is ahead of schedule, sending its share price higher by 0.2 per cent to $8.66.
Uranium miner Paladin Energy (PDN) rose 1.1 per cent to 45.5c despite announcing a fall in revenue in the three months to March. PDN also said the contracting market had begun to show activity and should strengthen the term price as the year progresses.
In economic news, the national average Australian price of petrol rose by 6.3 cents per litre to 155.4 cents a litre in the week to April 20. It was the biggest weekly lift in petrol prices in four months.
On the market overall, a total of 1.4 billion shares changed hands, worth $3.6 billion. 444 were higher, 483 were lower and 339 were unchanged.
The Australian dollar was buying US93.66c ahead of tomorrow's CPI data.
In the US, data on existing home prices, FHFA home prices and the Richmond Federal Reserve index are release
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