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ASX closes higher after volatile day

The Australian share market has closed higher after a choppy day of trade on the back of upbeat local data and negative Chinese factory figures.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 0.24 per cent at 5,738.1 points, with the best performing sectors being healthcare and utilities while the worst performing sector was the retail-related consumer staples.

The miners and energy sectors weighed on the market throughout the day due to falls in iron ore and oil prices overnight while the banks see-sawed only to finish lower.

The Australian dollar and parts of the share market bounced higher during morning trade following the release of positive retail trade figures at 1130 AEST.

"Only for the good work to be undone by the manufacturing read out of China," optionsXpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said.

"The market has been in and out of positive territory for the better part of the day."

Official figures showed retail spending in Australia rose 1.0 per cent to $25.89 billion in April, surpassing market expectations of a 0.3 per cent rise.

China's Caixin Performance of Manufacturing Index, released not long after the local retail data, came in below expectations and at an 11-month low shortly to drag the Aussie dollar and share market lower.

Weighing on the consumer staples was Wesfarmers which fell 3.11 per cent to $41.37 after a broker downgrade which warned that the market had underestimated the impact online retail giant Amazon will have on Wesfarmers' discount department stores Kmart and Target.

Mr Le Brun said a strong lift in the healthcare sector, driven by blood products maker CSL, helped prop the market up.

CSL shares were up 1.57 per cent to $131.32, while ResMed rose 2.55 per cent to $9.65 and Ramsay Health Care gained 0.77 per cent to $69.46.

Meanwhile, the local currency hit an intraday high of 74.53 US cents following the local retail data but plunged to 73.85 US cents following the Chinese data.

It was trading at about 74.07 US cents at 1700 AEST, down from 74.50 on Wednesday.

ON THE ASX AT 1615 AEST:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 13.5 points, or 0.24 per cent, at 5,738.1 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 11.2 points, or 0.19 per cent, at 5,772.5 points.

* The June SPI200 futures contract was up five points, or 0.09 per cent, at 5,745 points.

* National turnover was 2.1 billion securities traded worth $6.1 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 74.07 US cents, from 74.50 on Wednesday

* 82.19 Japanese yen, from 82.69 yen

* 65.87 euro cents, from 66.59 cents

* 57.59 British pence, from 58.15 pence

* 104.69 New Zealand cents, from 104.96 NZ cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,267 per fine ounce, up $US5.18 from $US1,261.82 on Wednesday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.6421pct, from 1.6350pct

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.396pct, from 2.387pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* June 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.575 (implying a yield of 2.425pct), from 97.585 (2.415pct) on Wednesday

* June 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.32 (1.68pct), from 98.33 (1.67pct).

(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEST previous local session, bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session)

Published on: Thursday, June 01, 2017

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