The Australian share market has finished up slightly in choppy trading as investors kept a wary eye on developments in US-Chinese trade talks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 15.6 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 6,310.9 points at 1615 AEST on Friday, while the broader All Ordinaries finished up 15.8 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 6,393.1.
Overall the ASX200 finished the week down 0.39 per cent, its second straight losing week.
“It’s a pretty quiet day on the market in terms of volumes,” said Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee.
While the US more than doubled tariffs on China at 2pm AEST, traders saw that as a negotiating tactic in their ongoing trade dispute, Ms Lee said.
High-level officials were still meeting Washington trying to salvage a deal.
All sectors on the ASX were higher except for miners were were flat, with the defensive utilities sector leading the way, collectively up over two per cent.
Spark Infrastructure was up 3.64 per cent to $2.28, AGL Energy was up 2.14 per cent to $22.96 and Infigen Energy was up 4.6 per cent to 45.5 cents.
BHP was down 0.49 per cent to $36.80 while Fortescue Metals gained 1.07 per cent to $7.54.
Three of the big four banks gained, with Commonwealth up 0.31 per cent to $75.40, NAB up 0.12 per cent to $25.94, and Westpac up 0.59 per cent to $27.22. ANZ fell 0.54 per cent to $27.50.
News Corp’s ASX-listed shares gained 1.03 per cent to $16.75 after the media giant posted $US23 million ($A32.9m) net income for the third quarter,with the consolidation of Foxtel and a strong performance by HarperCollins offsetting a decline in news and information earnings.
REA Group shares were up 0.91 per cent to $81.88 after the realestate.com.au operator said its third-quarter revenue rose seven per cent to $198.6 million as it increased fees to make up for a drop in listings.
Infratil shares were placed in a trading halt after the New Zealand infrastructure company prepared to make an announcement about the potential acquisition of Vodafone NZ.
Synlait Milk shares dropped 4.06 per cent to $9.46 after the New Zealand dairy company said a court ruling would complicate its plans to open a second nutritional powder manufacturing plant on land in Pokeno.
The Court of Appeals re-imposed covenants on the land restricting its use to grazing and forestry, meaning near-complete factory is in breach of the restrictions.
The Aussie dollar is buying 69.94 US cents, from 69.78 US cents on Thursday.
Next week, Commonwealth Bank will give its third quarter trading update on Monday, while Xero will announce its full-year results on Thursday.
Three of the four big banks go ex-dividend in May, which “might be quite difficult for the market,” Ms Lee said.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 15.6 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 6,310.9 points at 1630 AEST on Friday.
* The All Ordinaries was up 15.8 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 6,393.1.
* At 1630 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was up 24 points, or 0.38 per cent, at 6,296
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 69.94 US cents, from 69.78 US cents on Thursday
* 76.79 Japanese yen, from 76.64 yen
* 62.34 euro cents, from 62.30 euro cents
* 53.80 British pence, from 53.60 pence
* 106.12 NZ cents, from 106.07 cents