(Australian Associated Press)
The Australian share market has continued higher in early trade, with local investors taking cues from overnight gains on Wall Street.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 0.5 per cent after the first half-hour of trade, with healthcare, energy and mining shares among the pick of the lot.
“At the moment, there is quite a bit of optimism,” CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian said.
“US markets were higher and commodities remained firm. But a part of it is also the impact of money flowing back from the dividends being paid out this week.”
He estimated that $8 billion worth of dividends are being paid out to shareholders this week.
Overnight, Wall Street rose, continuing global gains after US consumer confidence soared to a more-than-16-year high.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 rose an identical 0.73 per cent each.
In the local market, gains were led by healthcare stocks with CSL, Cochlear and Ramsay Health Care all trading more than one per cent higher.
Energy shares also shone after oil prices rose as much as two per cent following a severe disruption to Libyan supplies.
Woodside Petroleum and Santos were up more than one per cent, while Origin Energy rose 1.4 per cent after signing two agreements to supply gas for French energy major Engie’s operations in Australia.
Fairfax Media shares were up 2.5 per cent on speculation that private equity giant TPG Capital is weighing a takeover bid for the company.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has lifted after its US counterpart reversed earlier gains overnight.
The local currency was trading at 76.35 US cents at 1037 AEDT on Wednesday, from 76.10 on Tuesday.
ON THE ASX:
* At 1037 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 29.3 points, or 0.5 per cent to 5,850.50 points.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 27.2 points, or 0.46 per cent to 5,887.6 points.
* The June SPI200 futures contract was up 28 points, or 0.48 per cent, at 5,841 points.
* National turnover was 647 million securities traded worth $899 million.
* The Australian dollar was trading at 76.35 US cents at 1037 AEDT, down from 76.10 US cents on Tuesday.
(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEDT previous local session, bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session)