Australian shares hit eight-day high, nudge record

The Australian share market has gained ground for a third straight day before another set of monthly inflation figures in the United States that could help set the direction of interest rates. 

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Wednesday rose 24.3 points, or 0.31 per cent, to an eight-day closing high of 7,848.5.

The broader All Ordinaries rose 28.5 points, or 0.35 per cent, to 8,109.7.

After a rough period last week, the ASX200 has recouped most of those losses and is just another solid performance away from another closing all-time high, finishing 48.3 points away. market analyst Kyle Rodda said the short-term performance on the market mostly depended on sentiment on Wall Street, which he said would probably be driven by Wednesday night's release of March inflation data and minutes from the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee's recent meeting.

Economists were predicting the consumer price index readout will show inflation ticked lower last month, with the core figure falling from 3.8 per cent from 3.7 per cent a month earlier.

The readout will likely help determine the path of rate cuts in the world's largest economy, with hopes for a June rate cut fading after last Friday's blockbuster jobs report.

In New Zealand, the Reserve Bank on Wednesday left the cash rate on hold, as expected, at 5.5 per cent. 

The Bank of Canada is expected to do likewise later on Wednesday.

Eight of the ASX's 11 sectors finished higher, with energy, financials and tech closing lower.

The property sector was the biggest mover, climbing 1.2 per cent as Goodman Group rose 1.6 per cent and Lendlease rose 2.3 per cent.

In the heavyweight mining sector, Rio Tinto built on Tuesday's stellar gains by rising another 1.9 per cent to close at a six-week high of $127.75, while Fortescue rose similarly to a one-week high of $25.74 and BHP added 0.7 per cent to $45.46.

Goldminers were mixed even as the precious metal hit yet another record high, changing hands at $US2,364 an ounce. 

Northern Star dropped 1.5 per cent while Newmont rose 0.7 per cent.

In the energy sector, Whitehaven Coal rose 3.0 per cent to a nearly two-month high of $7.58, while Yancoal grew 1.6 per cent.

The Big Four banks finished mixed, with CBA down 0.8 per cent at $117.21, ANZ edging 0.1 per cent lower at $29.38 and Westpac and NAB flat at $26.39 and $34.63 respectively.

In small caps, phone recording software company Dubber Corp announced it would hold a $24 million capital raising to replace $26 million in company funds it says were misappropriated. 

Dubber said it had fired its CEO and managing director over the matter, accusing him of "likely" being behind the theft along with a third-party trustee.

The capital raising will be at a massive 77 per cent discount, giving Dubber a market cap of $24 million at issue price. Dubber shares haven't traded for six weeks.

The Australian dollar was buying 66.23 US cents, from 65.80 US cents at Tuesday's ASX close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Tuesday finished up 24.3 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 7,848.5.

* The broader All Ordinaries climbed 28.5 points, or 0.35 per cent, to 8,109.7.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 66.23 US cents, from 65.80 US cents at Tuesday's ASX close

* 100.54 Japanese yen, from 99.87 yen

* 61.05 Euro cents, from 60.72 Euro cents

* 52.24 British pence, from 52.11 pence

* 109.14 NZ cents, from 109.40 NZ cents


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