Telstra shares in nine-year high
Telstra shares in nine-year high

UPDATE 8.35am: Australia's most widely held stock, Telstra, has continued its upward trajectory at the open after closing at a nine-year high yesterday.

Shares in the telco giant yesterday soared to their highest close in nine years as it benefitted from investor nervousness about the sustainability of the banking sector rally at a time of darkening clouds over the China-dependent resources boom.

Telstra yesterday traded as high as $5.34 before closing up 4c at $5.30 on turnover of 36.1 million shares.

The close, its best since March 2005, values the nation's dominant telco at $65.9 billion and delivers a boon for its 1.4 million owners, most of who own fewer than 10,000 shares each.

Telstra shares continued their recent run this morning defying the broader market to be up 3.5 cents to $5.335 at 8.35am.

Amid promises of a full-year dividend payout of at least 28c - in February the interim dividend was increased 0.5c to 14.5c, the first rise in eight years - Telstra's status as a defensive stock further enhances its appeal.

But Telstra's rapid run, having more than doubled in value since 2011, will also spark questions about whether the rally is heading for a close. Much of the rally has been sparked by Telstra's cash-enriching settlement deal with the Federal Government's National Broadband Co though the final sell-down of the Future Fund's stake in the telco, at levels below $3 a share, has also helped.

The 20 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, which cover Telstra, have an average 12-month target price of $5.06.

The most bullish analysts are those at CIMB (target price of $5.73) and Nomura ($5.50) while six maintain a buy recommendation and 10 a hold. Just four analysts of those surveyed say it is time to sell Telstra, though if there is more nervousness at the big end of the resources sector yield-chasing money may remain keen on the telco.

The West Australian

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