Australian shares hit 17-month high

The Australian share market has hit a 17-month high as retailers rose on Christmas shopping figures and Fortescue Metals announcing it would restart a major project.

Fortescue rose 4.1% after say it will resume work expanding the $A1.1 billion Kings deposit at its Solomon iron ore mining hub in the Pilbara next month January because of a pick up in commodity prices.

Iron ore prices have risen from a low of $US86.70 on September 5 to about $US135 this week. Other mining companies, including Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, also climbed.

Retail stocks advanced as shoppers lapped up post-Christmas sales. Department stores Myer and David Jones gained 2.9% and 3%, respectively. Electrical retailer Harvey Norman climbed 1.6% and JB Hi-Fi was up 0.3%.

The banks put in a mixed performance. National Australia Bank rose 0.3%, while Westpac, ANZ and Commonwealth Bank dropped 0.2-0.3%.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 12.8 points, or 0.3%, at 4648, its highest closing level since July 8, 2011.

The broader All Ordinaries index was up 0.3%, at 4661.4, its highest since July 22, 2011.

• New Zealand stocks rose in light holiday trading, helped by gains in Fletcher Building. Hellaby Holdings rose 15c to $3.20 after announcing its 85% shareholding in Contract Resources.

The NZX 50 Index rose 7.627 points, or 0.2%, to 4065.447. Within the index, 20 stocks rose, 18 fell and 13 were unchanged. Turnover was a lower-than-average $46 million.

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NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7856 0.0005 0.06%
AUD 0.8969 0.0010 0.11%
EUR 0.6216 0.0000 0.00%
GBP 0.4895 0.0001 0.02%
HKD 6.0940 0.0040 0.07%
JPY 84.2790 0.1570 0.19%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1241.1 -7.450 2014-10-22T00:
Oil Brent 84.7 -1.510 2014-10-22T00:
Oil Nymex 80.5 -1.970 2014-10-22T00:
Silver Index 17.2 -0.310 2014-10-22T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 5279.7 5299.9 5279.7 0.25%
NASDAQ 4429.2 4435.9 4419.5 -0.83%
DAX 8934.5 8957.2 8887.0 0.60%
DJI 16615.3 16653.9 16614.8 -0.92%
FTSE 6372.3 6401.5 6372.3 0.43%
HKSE 23296.0 23397.2 23404.0 -0.46%
NI225 15093.8 15232.5 15195.8 -0.54%