US job figures to lift ASX
Wall Street traders check their figures.

Australian shares have opened higher due to strong gains in the resources and financial sectors.

At 8.16am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 22.7 points, or 0.51 per cent, at 4,475.4 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had added 21.8 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 4,494.4 points.

On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was 17 points higher at 4,477 points, with 7,142 contracts traded.

RBS Morgans Brisbane private client adviser Craig Walker said the Australian market had opened higher after a strong lead from Wall Street.

An encouraging report on the US labour market and better sales from retail stores helped push Wall Street higher, with the Dow Jones industrial average gaining 80.75 points to close at 13,575.36.

“We had a reasonable lead from the US overnight and commodity prices were were up as well which has resulted in strong moves in the resources space,” Mr Walker said.

“The major banks are holding their own today too.”

BHP Billiton was up 27.5 cents to $33.26, Rio Tinto gained 34.5 cents to $54.29 and Fortescue was seven cents higher at $3.52.

ANZ added nine cents to $25.39, Commonwealth Bank was up seven cents $56.62, National Australia Bank was also seven cents higher at $26.22 and Westpac gained 10 cents to $25.67.

Bank of Queensland was down 26 cents, or 3.3 per cent, at $7.68 after revealing it is set to post a full year loss due to a rise in bad debt provisions and $10 million in one-off costs.

Also making news, Woolworths will spin off its shopping centre assets into a new property trust, and tap investors for up to $506 million to help fund the deal.

Woolworths shares were up 28 cents to $29.53.

National turnover was 226.8 million securities worth $351.3 million.

The West Australian

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