ASX gains but US air strike rattles market

The ASX has closed higher with gains across the board even as a markets were rattled by a US air strike that killed a top Iranian military commander.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained as much as 97.7 points in early trading before retreating after news of the strike, closing on Friday up 42.9 points, or 0.64 per cent, to 6,733.5.

Australian shares closed Friday slightly up.
Australian shares closed Friday slightly up.Credit:Peter Braig

The broader All Ordinaries finished up 45.2 points, or 0.66 per cent, to 6,855.2 points.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has fallen back from recent five-month highs and is buying 69.60 US cents, from 70.01 US cents on Thursday.


“We had a very strong lead, but the missile strike in Baghdad caused has caused a few jitters in the market,” said CMC Markets’ head of sales trading for APAC and Canada, Ashley Glover.

“But still, a pretty positive session,” said CommSec market analyst James Tao. “Gains pretty much across the board, every sector improving.”

Energy stocks were the biggest gainers – collectively rising 1.7 per cent – as the price of oil jumped three per cent to a seven-month high following the strike, which killed the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

Oil Search rose 3.2 per cent to $7.49, Woodside Petroleum gained 0.9 per cent to $34.77 and Santos climbed 2.3 per cent to $8.41.

Goldminers also rose as the price of the precious metal spiked 0.9 per cent to a four-month high of $US1542 an ounce, with Newcrest up 1.2 per cent and Saracen climbing 4.2 per cent, although Evolution fell 2.1 per cent.

Northern Star was the biggest ASX200 gainer, climbing 5.8 per cent to a three- month high of $11.88 as it completed its $1.1 billion acquisition of half of the famous Kalgoorlie Super Pit goldmine in WA.

Elsewhere in the mining sector, BHP climbed 0.5 per cent to $39.15, Rio Tinto gained 0.2 per cent to $101.36 but Fortescue Metals fell 0.3 per cent to $10.75.

The big banks all rose, with Commonwealth Bank up 0.5 per cent to $80.31, Westpac and ANZ both up 0.7 per cent, to $24.36 and $24.73, respectively, and NAB climbing 0.6 per cent to $24.72.

Biotech giant CSL gained 0.8 per cent to $277.30 while Telstra rose 0.3 per cent to $3.59 and Woolworths climbed 0.2 per cent to $36.35.


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