ASX closes up ahead of Easter break

The Australian sharemarket followed Wall Street higher following US Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen's soothing comments over US interest rates.

The S&P/ASX 200 index lagged Wall Street to close 33.9 points, or 0.63 per cent, up at 5454.2 as Chinese stocks floundered in and out of the red after authorities continued to tightly target stimulus measures.

Despite weak Chinese growth data the People' Bank of China drained cash from the banking system for the 28th consecutive day but announced that bank reserve requirement ratios to ease lending to agricultural related industries.

The Shanghai composite index was off 0.1 per cent at the close of the ASX while in Tokyo the Nikkei index was up 0.3 per cent.

The Australian dollar was slightly easier at US93.55�while government 10-year yields eased 2.7 points to a six-month low of 3.95 per cent.

Overnight the US S&P 500 index climbed 1.1 per cent after Ms Yellen said the shortfall of US inflation and employment from their targets meant the Fed would "maintain the appropriate degree of accommodation to support the recovery".

" All very dovish, and all aimed at further moving away from the '6-month' comments she made at her March press conference," National Australia Bank economist Spiros Papadopolos said.

Gold was little changed at $US1300 an ounce but copper jumped 1.2 per cent to $US6620 a tonne and spot iron ore fell 0.8 per cent to $US116 a tonne.

More to come…

The West Australian

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