Thursday, 06 December 2012 07:04
Australian shares finished firmer as investors sought high-yielding bank stocks following this week's official interest rate cut.
At the close on Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 16.8 points, or 0.37 per cent, higher at 4520.4, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 16.2 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 4528.0.
On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was 24 points higher at 4529, with 19,199 contracts traded.
RBS Morgans private client adviser Bruce Smith said the local market improved thanks to the banking sector, which closed around one per cent higher.
"Our market was dragged up by the banks, Suncorp and (also) the likes of Rio Tinto," Mr Smith said.
"It follows yesterday's (Reserve Bank of Australia cash) rate cut, as people look to high-yielding banking stocks."
Mining giant BHP Billiton added three cents to $34.29 and Rio Tinto rose 94 cents to 59.35.
The good news for Rio came after freight rail operator Aurizon, formerly known as QR National, extended a Queensland coal haulage contract.
Aurizon, which was up six cents at $3.63, will transport up to 12 million tonnes of coal per annum from Rio Tinto's Clermont mine to the Dalrymple Bay coal terminal for 10 years from July 2013.
Sundance Resources shares fell 11.5 per cent, or 4.5 cents, to 34.5 cents after suitor Hanlong Mining delayed a takeover deal this week.
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