The Australian share market finished higher for fourth straight session on Thursday, 04 June 2020, as investor sentiments was lifted by tracking a positive lead from Wall Street overnight and fresh stimulus package to revive an economy battered by the coronavirus. However, market gains were somewhat capped after the latest GDP figures showed the Australian economy shrank by 0.3% over the first few months of the year amid bushfires, drought, floods and the coronavirus.

At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index advanced 50.22 points, or 0.85%, to 5991.82. The broader All Ordinaries added 47.08 points, or 0.78%, to 6,112.02.

Australia’s government unveiled a stimulus package to support housing market activity and to generate more jobs in the construction sector as the economy is set to enter its first recession in 29 years. The new HomeBuilder program will provide all eligible owner-occupiers, not just first home buyers, with a grant of A$25,000 to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Thursday. The program is expected to provide around 27,000 grants at a total cost of around A$680 million. The new program will help to support the 140,000 direct jobs and another 1,000,000 related jobs in the residential construction sector.

Most industry sectors finished higher, led by the banks stocks.

Financial stocks rose 2% led by Credit Corp Group Ltd, up 5.5%, followed by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, gaining 3.8%. Meanwhile, the Big Four banks gained between a range of 2.8% and 3.3%. The country’s second-largest lender Westpac Banking Corp unveiled on Thursday its findings regarding the breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws. Shares of the company were up 3%.

ECONOMIC NEWS: Australia Trade Surplus At A$8.800 Billion In April- Australia posted a seasonally adjusted merchandise trade surplus of A$8.800 billion in April, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday, down 16% on month, following the downwardly revised A$10.44 billion surplus in March. Exports were down 11.0% on month to A$37.505 billion following the downwardly revised 13.9% increase in the previous month. Imports sank 10.0% on month to A$28.705 billion after losing a revised 3.6% a month earlier.

Australia Retail Sales Tumble 17.7% On Month In April- Australia total value of retail sales fell by a seasonally adjusted 17.7% on month in April coming in at A$24.791 billion, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday. That was slightly better than expectations for a decline of 17.9% following the 8.5% increase in March.

CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6893, following its rise from levels below $0.68 seen earlier in the trading week.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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