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DJ Australia Shares End Up 0.7% Before Christmas Holidays
December 24, 2013

By David Rogers SYDNEY--Austraia's share market continued to soar in abbreviated trading before Christmas following fresh record highs on Wall Street after the U.S. economy showed further signs of strength. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 closed up 0.7% at 5327.2 after hitting a three-week high of 5329.7. Westpac, CSL, Macquarie, Origin, Brambles, QBE, Insurance Australia, AMP and Crown rose at least 0.7%. BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue lagged after spot iron ore slipped 0.6% to US$131.90 following a further spike in China's short-term lending rates. Overall market sentiment improved last week after the Federal Reserve vowed to ensure that the U.S. economy strengthens, even as it planned to start reducing its bond-buying program in January. Good news continued overnight as U.S. personal consumption rose 0.5% in November, the biggest rise in five months and the seventh straight gain. "Momentum indicators are suggesting a move back to the year's high of 5457.3 is on the cards, and as long as financials are working, this could still play out in the coming weeks," IG chief market strategist Chris Weston said. With the Fed's taper announcement out of the way, year-end dividend payments were expected to flow back into the share market. Offshore buying was also possible as the Australian dollar stabilized after hitting a three-and-a-half year low last week. Investors were keeping watch on China's money market after its benchmark seven-day repo rate settled at 8.9% on Monday versus 7.6% on Friday. However, China's Shanghai Composite rose more than 1% late Tuesday after the People's Bank of China injected additional cash into the money market to ease liquidity constraints in Australia's biggest trading partner. Write to David Rogers at