Australian shares were broadly firmer on Friday, and for a second straight week, tracking a buoyant Wall Street and propped up by gains in banks and miners. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.9 percent to 5,788.10, after it gained 0.2 percent the previous session. For the week, the index rose 0.6 percent. The market lost 3.4 percent in May.
Major U.S. share indexes touched record highs after manufacturing and jobs indicators suggested the economy was picking up speed, bolstering firm expectations of a U.S. Federal Reserve rate rise in June.
The ADP private sector report showed 253,000 jobs were added in May, beating a Reuters poll of 185,000 and providing a sturdy platform for the official non-farm payrolls report due later on Friday.
Ben Le Brun, markets analyst at OptionXpress, said Aussie markets were also seeing a continuation in terms of bargain hunting in the financial space.
“Perhaps we’re seeing bargain hunting across the market given we’ve seen a sizeable pullback in the month of May.”
The ‘Big Four’ banks were the biggest gainers on the main index, up in a range of 0.7 percent to 1.2 percent.
Mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP’s 1.7 percent and 1.4 percent rise, respectively, boosted both the benchmark and the mining index.
However, the metals and miners index finished marginally lower on the week, which was marked by weakness in commodity prices. Chinese iron ore futures rebounded on Friday after six days of losses.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index added 0.7 percent, or 49.07 points, to finish the session at 7,499.97. The benchmark gained for a second straight week, adding 0.8 percent.
Consumer and energy stocks led the rise, with building materials maker Fletcher Building posting the biggest gains on the main index.