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Australian S&P index gains 4.7pts

Australian S&P index gains 4.7pts

SYDNEY: Australian shares closed the day flat, with declines in the removal and energy sectors offset by a pre-Christmas convention in customer staples and a rolling health care sector.
At the 4.15pm (AEDT) official market close, the benchmark S & P/ASX200 index shoved 4.7 points higher, or 0.09 per cent, to 5,400.9, while the broader All Ordinaries index added 1.1 points, or 0.02 per cent, to 5,381.4.
Woolworths chairman Ralph Waters reaffirmed the supermarket giant’s full-year guidance, spurring a rally in the consumer staples sector encouraged by forecasts that Australians will spend $30 billion this holiday season, with a bulk of that to be spent on liquor and groceries.
Woolworths rallied 2.16 per cent to $31.75, while Wesfarmers lifted 0.28 per cent to $42.35.
Sales trader for CMC Markets, Betty Lam, said the big supermarkets finally received some respite from almost 10 sessions of relentless selling. “The supermarket giants are without a doubt due to be on the receiving end of the silly-season spending,” she said.
Investment director for Folkestone Maxim Asset Management, Winston Sammut, said the bullish sentiment in the retail space was hard to believe.