EVENING REPORT (5pm AEST)
The buying spree continued on the final day of the shortened trading week, with Australian stocks once again closing at their best levels in almost six years.
The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) rose 13.3 points or 0.2 per cent to 5515.5 points, closing higher for the sixth consecutive session. Markets will be closed tomorrow in Australia for the Anzac Day public holiday.
ANZ (ANZ) and Westpac (WBC) shares both closed at record highs today. Shares in WBS rose 0.5 per cent to $35.78 while ANZ was firmer by 0.2 per cent to $34.67.
In the healthcare space, Resmed (RMD) shares were well supported, up 3.1 per cent to $5.26 after the healthcare company lifted its 3Q earnings and announced revenue in the period lifted by 3 per cent to a record US$398 million. Ramsay Health Care (RHC) fell slightly to $45.98 after the company announced founder Paul Ramsay was in a European hospital in a serious condition with "deep concern" for his well-being.
Bank of Queensland (BOQ) traded ex-dividend today and closed lower by 2.9 per cent to $12.72.
Atlas Iron (AGO) announced record shipments of iron ore in the third quarter and announced it's on track to meet FY guidance of 10.2-10.7 million tons of the commodity. AGO rose 2.1 per cent to 97.5 cents.
Transurban (TCL) shares will remain in a halt until next Thursday as the company attempts to raise $2.74 billion through a share placement offer to fund its $7.06 billion acquisition of Queensland Motorways from the Qld government. The shares will be issued at $6.95 each, a sharp discount from yesterday's closing price of $7.27.
On the market overall, 1.5 billion shares changed hands, worth $5.8 billion. 512 were up, 388 were down and 357 were unchanged.
At 4.30pm AEST the SFE 200 Futures Index was at 5523, up 14 points. The Australian dollar was buying US92.91c.
Ahead tonight, data on weekly claims for unemployment insurance is released with durable goods orders and the Kansas City Federal Reserve survey.
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