Aust stocks claw back all of 2022 losses

The local share market has inched higher for an 11th day of gains in the past 13 sessions, finishing at a fresh nine-month high.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Friday finished up 16.9 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 7,452.2, its highest level since April 22.

For the week the index was up 1.7 per cent, its third straight week of gains.

It is up 5.87 per cent so far already this year, and Friday's close puts it up 7.6 points since the end of 2021, having recovered the 406 points it lost last year.

The broader All Ordinaries on Friday gained 17.9 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 7,666.3.

CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian called Friday's session "choppy and somewhat directionless," with a slow start to trading, gains around midday that faded and then a "late flurry in the home stretch" with the market closing close to its highs for the day.

"What this means is, the market continues to do reasonably well, (but) things have slowed down a bit," he said.

"But we're still up, we've actually hit a nine-month high today, we're having the best start to a year in more than a decade. We've only had two declines in 13 days, and we're up about 1.7 per cent or so this week."

Mr Daghlian said this week's gains have been supported by Thursday's weaker-than-expected domestic job report for December that some see as supporting the Reserve Bank pausing its campaign of rate hikes at its February 7 meeting; the Bank of Japan not tightening its monetary policy on Wednesday, as some had expected; and a swath of economic data from China released on Tuesday that was much better than anticipated.

"And of course earlier this month we had the reopening of Chinese borders, which looking forward is probably going to add demand for things like commodities," Mr Daghlian said.

The ASX's two commodity sectors, mining and energy, were the best performers on Friday, with the former rising 0.9 per cent and the latter up 1.4 per cent.

Whitehaven Coal was a standout, climbing 6.2 per cent to a three-week high of $9.48 as the coalminer said it expects to announce its first-half earnings had more than quadrupled to around $2.6 billion on soaring coal prices.

Fellow coalminers also rose, with New Hope adding 2.7 per cent, Yancoal gaining 4.7 per cent and Stanmore Resources climbing 4.6 per cent to a fresh all-time high of $3.66.

In the heavyweight mining sector, goldminers had a solid day as the yellow metal hit a nine-month high of $US1930 an ounce on expectations that the US Federal Reserve will hike rates less aggressively.

Northern Star added 3.2 per cent to a nearly two-year high of $12.55, Newcrest climbed 2.4 per cent to $23.09 and De Grey Mining added 4.0 per cent to $1.57.

Among the iron ore giants, BHP was up 0.5 per cent to $49.95, having hit an all-time intraday high of $50.09 in late afternoon trading.

Rio Tinto had added 1.0 per cent to a 10-month high of $127.20 while Fortescue Metals edged 0.1 per cent higher at $22.60.

Lithium miner Pilbara Minerals rose 13.2 per cent to a one-month high of $4.55 after announcing what CEO Dale Henderson called an "absolute cracker" December quarter, with its cash balance rising to $2.2 billion.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare rose 4.9 per cent to a 10-month high of $24.32 after the New Zealand respiratory products company said it expects to make as much as $NZ1.6 billion in revenue for the financial year ending March 31.

Surging COVID-19 cases in China and an early flu season and the prevalence of the respiratory virus RSV in the United States have led to strong sales to hospitals, the company said.

Elsewhere, the big banks were mostly lower, with ANZ down 0.5 per cent to $24.75, NAB down 0.4 per cent to $31.60 and CBA edging 0.1 per cent lower at $108.66. But Westpac managed to gain 0.2 per cent to $24.

The Australian dollar was buying 69.25 US cents, from 69.06 US cents at Thursday's ASX close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed Friday up 16.9 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 7,452.2.

* The broader All Ordinaries gained 17.9 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 7,666.3.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 69.25 US cents, from 69.06 US cents at Thursday's ASX close

* 89.37 Japanese yen, from 88.28 Japanese yen

* 63.93 Euro cents, from 63.95 Euro cents

* 55.95 British pence, from 55.95 pence

* 107.98 NZ cents, from 107.58 NZ cents.