Energy sector rally drives shares higher

Petrina Berry
AAP

Strong gains by energy and mining stocks and the major supermarkets have driven the share market higher.

The S&P ASX/200 index closed 0.55 per cent higher, as improved oil and iron ore prices drove the lift in the energy and mining sectors.

"There has been significant strength in oil prices after the major oil producing nations agreed to cut production," Morgans Brisbane senior private client adviser Bill Chatterton said.

Santos gained 14 cents, or 3.6 per cent, to $4.00, Woodside Petroleum added 54 cents, or 1.9 per cent, to $29.44 and Origin Energy rose 17 cents, or 3.1 per cent, to $5.59.

Mining giant BHP Billiton climbed 27 cents, or 1.2 per cent, to $23.12 after outlining a return to expansion for its petroleum business, while Rio Tinto added 31 cents to $52.21.

"There was also good buying across Woolworths and Wesfarmers on signs Aldi's growth is starting to flatten out," Mr Chatterton said.

"This is the first time Aldi has had some negative movement which has increased optimism around Woolies and Coles which have been lowering the prices."

Woolworths gained 61 cents, or 2.6 per cent, to $23.91 and Coles owner Wesfarmers added 57 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $45.10.

The four major banks were modestly higher, while Bank of Queensland fell 31 cents, or 2.7 per cent, to $11.15 after reporting a one per cent rise in full year cash profit.

Aged care provider Estia Health dropped 10 cents, or three per cent, $3.20 after it cut its annual earnings guidance by up to 18 per cent.

KEY FACTS:


  • At 1615 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was up 30.1 points, or 0.55 per cent, at 5,483 points.


  • The broader All Ordinaries index was up 27.8 points, or 0.5 per cent, at 5,564.8 points.


  • The December share price index futures contract was up 33 points at 5,466 points, with 20,503 contracts traded.


  • National turnover was 2.6 billion securities traded, worth $5.8 billion.