Australian stock market closed marginal higher in thin trading on Friday, 26 April 2019, as strength in gold and financial stocks offset losses in energy and materials stocks. At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index advanced 3.50 points, or 0.05%, at 6,385.65 points, the highest level since January 2008, while the broader All Ordinaries added 2.55 points, or 0.04%, at 6,473.16. Australian stock market closed on Thursday, 25 April 2019, for ANZAC day holiday.
Gold stocks were the biggest gainers, after bullion climbed on Friday, as signs of weak global growth rekindled investor interest in the safe-haven metal. Saracen Mineral Holdings and Newcrest Mining jumped 5.5% and 2.4%, respectively.
Financials erased early losses to end higher.
Westpac Banking Corp gained 0.6%, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia rose 0.3%, ahead of earnings from major Australian banks next week.
Energy was the worst performing sector after oil prices eased following Brent crude's first touch of $75 for nearly six months - a move that hints at a pullback following the commodity's recent good run. Whitehaven Coal and WorleyParsons were the biggest losers in the sector, falling 3.2% and 4.5%, respectively. Woodside Petroleum, Origin, Oil Search, Caltex, and Santos were each down by more than a percentage point.
Consumer discretionary stocks were also down after Flight Centre lost more than 11% in value following a 15% profit downgrade on weak domestic leisure spending.
CURRENCY: The Australian dollar edged higher against the U. S. dollar on Friday. The Australian dollar was quoted at 70.25 US cents, from 70.16 on Thursday.
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