The Australian share market closed higher in volatile trade on Friday, 10 May 2019, on the back of central bank signalling it will consider lowering interest rates if unemployment does not fall further, a major step towards the first policy easing since 2016. Market gains were, however, capped after American tariff measures kicked in on Chinese goods and traders awaited countermeasures promised by Beijing. At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 15.52 points, or 0.25%, at 6,310.85 points, while the broader All Ordinaries rose 15.80 points, or 0.25%, at 6,393.13.
Shares of energy companies advanced on the back of jump in oil prices. Woodside Petroleum and Santos rose 1.4% and 1.2%, respectively.
Metal and mining stocks climbed. Top miner BHP Group gained 0.1%, while peer Rio Tinto rose 1.2%.
Aurelia Metals gained 2.3% after it said on Thursday that it was no longer in talks about a possible acquisition of the CSA mine in New South Wales, backing off from plans to buy the Glencore Plcowned copper mine.
News Corp shares were up 1.7% after it posted A$32.9 million net income for the third quarter, with the consolidation of Foxtel and a strong performance by HarperCollins offsetting a decline in news and information earnings. The result compared to a net loss of $1.1 billion a year ago - when the Rupert Murdoch-controlled media firm revalued its Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia operations.
Qantas (QAN) was down by 3% after a number of brokers have cut expectations for the airline's share price over the next 12 months.
ECONOMIC NEWS: The Reserve Bank has confirmed its downgraded near-term economic growth forecasts, but has kept its longer-term expectations unchanged. The RBA said on Friday it now expects annual GDP growth to June of 1.75%, compared to the 2.25% it flagged six months ago, with the December target downgraded from 3.0 to 2.75%. The central bank, which has also trimmed its mean inflation targets for the same periods, still expects economic growth to pick stay at 2.75% over the next 18 months. Year-ended GDP growth is expected to be around 2.75% over 2019 and 2020, supported by accommodative monetary policy and an increase in household disposable income growth, the RBA said.
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