Australian stock index hits highest level since April

The local bourse has resumed its winning ways after two days of modest losses it has now more than recouped.

At noon AEDT on Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 37.2 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 7513.9, and earlier had hit a nine-month intraday high of 7537.7.

The broader All Ordinaries was up 37.4 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 7723.5.

The gains followed an overnight rally on Wall Street, where the S&P500 climbed 1.5 per cent after General Motors posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings and United States wage inflation showed signs of moderating – another potential indication the Federal Reserve might soon pivot from its campaign of aggressive interest rate hikes.

The US central bank is widely expected to deliver another 25 basis point hike when it unveils its latest monetary decision at 6am AEDT on Thursday but traders will be carefully watching the commentary from chairman Jerome Powell for clues on its path later in the year.

Seven of the ASX’s 11 sectors were higher at midday.

Energy and tech were slightly lower and consumer staples and utilities were flat.

The real estate sector was the biggest gainer, climbing 1.1 per cent as Charter Hall was up 2.8 per cent and Dexus grew 1.9 per cent.

The heavyweight mining sector was close behind with a one per cent gain as lithium miners rebounded from Tuesday’s sell-off and the price of iron ore hovered about a seven-month high.

Pilbara was up 2.1 per cent, Allkem had gained two per cent and rare earth miner Lynas was up 4.3 per cent.

BHP was up 0.9 per cent to $49.83, Rio Tinto had climbed 1.2 per cent to a one-and-a-half-year high of $128.21 and Fortescue Metals had gained 0.9 per cent to $22.43.

In the financial sector, CBA had again set a fresh all-time intraday high of $110.81. At midday, it was up 0.1 per cent to $110.16.

Westpac was up 0.4 per cent to $23.81, ANZ had climbed 1.3 per cent to $25.42 and NAB had edged 0.1 per cent higher at $31.83.

Elsewhere, Flight Centre soared 8.3 per cent to a four-month high of $17.15 after the travel company’s shares resumed trading following a $180 million capital raising to fund its acquisition of UK-based luxury travel brand Scott Dunn.

Credit Corp dropped one per cent to $21.45 after the debt collector announced its first-half profit was down 30 per cent to $31.8 million due to rapid loan book growth.

The Australian dollar was buying 70.54 US cents, from 70.29 US cents at Monday’s ASX close.

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