Aussie shares gain, $A climbs above 66 US cents

Business, Markets, Black Friday

The Australian share market traded higher on Tuesday, coming close to recouping Monday's losses as traders digested a weaker-than-expected retail sales report for last October that prompted a surge in the local currency.

At noon AEDT on Tuesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 44.8 points, or 0.64 per cent, to 7,032.6, while the broader All Ordinaries had gained 46.9 points, or 0.65 per cent, to 7,239.7.

Shortly before lunchtime, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that Australian retail turnover fell 0.2 per cent last month – compared to estimates of 0.1 per cent increase – following a big 0.9 per cent increase in September.

Ben Dorber, ABS head of retail statistics, said that turnover was down in all retail categories except food retailing, possibly due to consumers waiting to take advantage of Black Friday sales events in November.

J.P. Morgan economist Tom Kennedy noted that spending at cafes and restaurants fell for a second consecutive month.

NAB head of market economics Tapas Strickland said the readout likely wouldn't move the dial for the Reserve Bank ahead of its meeting on Tuesday, and added that NAB continues to forecast a rate hike in February.

The Aussie dollar rose on the news, climbing to a fresh four-month high of 66.20 US cents, from 65.81 US cents at Monday's ASX close.

Every sector of the ASX was in the green at midday, with property the biggest gainer, climbing 1.2 per cent.

Westfield owner Scentre Group climbed 2.4 per cent and Lendlease was up 3.1 per cent.

All of the Big Four banks were higher, with ANZ adding 1.2 per cent, Westpac up 1.1 per cent, NAB advancing 1.6 per cent and CBA gaining 0.9 per cent.

In the heavyweight mining sector, BHP and Rio Tinto had both edged 0.1 per cent higher, while Fortescue Ltd had gained 1.5 per cent as its name change from Fortescue Metals Group took effect.

Goldminers were shining as the price of the precious metal rose to $US2,014 an ounce, a fresh six-month high.

Evolution was up 2.1 per cent, Northern Star had added 2.5 per cent and Newmont was up 1.5 per cent.

Collins Foods had soared 9.2 per cent to $11.03 as the KFC franchisor posted half-year underlying earning of $109.9 million, up 16.7 per cent from a year ago.

“Performance in the first half has highlighted the underlying strength of our business, and the resilience of the QSR (quick service restaurant) sector in challenging economic conditions,” said managing director and chief executive Drew O'Malley.

In health care, Imugene soared 18.1 per cent to 10.75c after the US Food and Drug Administration granted fast track designation for using novel cancer-killing virus against bile duct cancer.

Healius advanced 4.9 per cent to $1.395 as managing director and chief executive Maxine Jaquet told shareholders the pathology chain was optimistic the diagnostic market would revert to growth following the dislocation from COVID-19.

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