ASX moves higher as jobless rate rises

The Australian share market rose and the currency fell after the release of jobs data recording a slight uptick in unemployment in August.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 46.7 points, or 0.70 per cent, to 6,728.3 points at 1200 AEST on Thursday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 44.5 points, or 0.66 per cent, to 6,835.7 points.

Telecommunications and industrial shares led gains, adding 2.12 per cent and 1.51 per cent respectively, as every sector of the ASX remained in positive territory.

Telco giant Telstra rose 2.39 per cent, Amaysim was up 1.28 per cent and Vocus gained 2.56 per cent.

Brambles added 2.09 per cent, Aurizon rose 1.04 per cent, Sydney Airport climbed 2.07 per cent and Transurban was 2.09 per cent higher.

The heavyweight mining sector had the smallest increase amid falling iron ore prices, with BHP down 0.07 per cent to $37.765, Rio Tinto up 0.73 per cent to $93.60 and Fortescue Metals up 0.27 per cent to $9.125.

Gold miners Newcrest Mining, Northern Star and Evolution Mining were down between 1.60 per cent and 2.18 per cent.

The big four banks were all higher although their individual morning gains exceeding 1.0 per cent eased as the jobs rate data raised the likelihood of more near-term cuts to the cash rate, affecting lenders’ profits.

ANZ was up 0.92 per cent to $27.945, Commonwealth was up 0.59 per cent to $82.22, NAB was up 0.65 per cent to $29.34 and Westpac was up 0.58 per cent to $29.71.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank was up 0.44 per cent, Bank of Queensland was up 1.68 per cent and Macquarie Group was up 1.74 per cent.

Brickworks was up 5.28 per cent to $17.36 after the building materials producer said earnings from its industrial property portfolio increased.

Soul Pattinson was up 3.32 per cent to $23.03 as the investment firm said its full-year profit fell 7.1 per cent.

The local currency slid to a two-week low against the US dollar after the release of ABS data that showed unemployment edged up 0.1 per cent to 5.3 per cent in August.

The Aussie dollar is buying 67.93 US cents from 68.44 US cents on Wednesday.

The moves came after the US Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark overnight lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point, as expected, and chairman Jerome Powell said in a subsequent press conference that the central bank was prepared to be “aggressive” if necessary.


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