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ASX Market Report

Fixed Interest
Close Points
Currency Close Points
All Ordinaries 6055 27 0.45 $A vs $US 0.7796 0.0007 0.09
S&P/ASX 200 5949 29 0.48 $A vs GBP 0.5594 0.0006 0.11
10-year Bond Rate 2.71 -0.01 -0.55 $A vs YEN 82.54 -0.26 -0.32
  $A vs EUR 0.6331 0.0003 0.04
  $A vs $NZ 1.0758 0.0047 0.44
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[Morningstar with AAP]: Australian shares have closed higher, led by a surge of support for consumer-related stocks following Wesfarmers' announcement of plans to spin off supermarket giant Coles.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 0.48 per cent at 5,949.4 points at 1630 AEDT on Friday, with most sectors in the green but the market weighed down by weakness among bank stocks.

Citi retail analyst Bryan Raymond said the move to spin off Coles was positive for Wesfarmers shareholders, rival Woolworths and the broader sector.

The supermarket sector would benefit with Coles unlikely to embark on aggressive changes to its earnings and pricing during the demerger, he said, while Wesfarmers shareholders also stood to gain.

"Shareholders can now gain exposure to a Wesfarmers business primarily driven by Bunnings in Australia and New Zealand," Mr Raymond said in a note.

Wesfarmers gained $2.60, or 6.3 per cent, at $43.80, while Woolworths was up 33 cents, or 1.3 per cent, at $26.78.

The sector's big loser was IGA supplier Metcash, which lost 5.4 per cent to $3.00 on news that supermarkets chief executive Steve Cain would lead the demerged Coles.

The big banks all lost ground on the last day of the opening week of the Royal Commission hearings.

ANZ fell just 0.07 per cent, Commonwealth Bank lost 0.6 per cent, while the National Australia Bank, and Westpac lost 0.5 per cent each.

Falls in iron ore and gains in copper left the top miners mixed, with BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto up 1.0 per cent to $29.16 and 0.7 per cent $76.62, while Fortescue Metals was steady at $4.78.

Encouragement out of the International Energy Agency that oil demand could pick up helped Origin, up by 2.1 per cent to $8.84, Santos Oil was flat at $4.89, but Woodside Petroleum fell 0.2 per cent, to $28.56.

In other company news, healthy snack company Freedom Foods entered a trading halt as it seeks to raise $200 million to build the capacity needed to crack lucrative Asian markets.

And shares in Premier Investments gained 6.1 per cent to $15.27 after the Solomon Lew-led company lifted first-half net profit 9.4 per cent thanks largely to its core brands Smiggle and Peter Alexander.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has fallen below 78 US cents on the risk-off mood darkening regional currencies, a strengthening US dollar and falls in key commodities.

At 1630 AEDT on Friday, the local currency was worth 77.94 US cents, down from 78.68 US cents on Thursday.


The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 28.5 points, or 0.48 per cent, at 5,949.4 point

The broader All Ordinaries index was up 27.3 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 6,054.9 points

The SPI200 futures contract was up 35 points, or 0.59 per cent, at 5,946.0 points.

National turnover was four billion securities traded worth $9.6 billion

The NZX 50 added 9.75 points (0.12%) to 8,477.08 while the Nikkei dropped -102.50 points (-0.47%) at the time of writing, to be closed at 21,701.43.

Companies commencing Ex-Dividend Trading Today (ASX 300):

Primary Health Care Limited

The Reject Shop Limited

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