Australian shares rose strongly on Thursday, ending the session at a record closing high after coming within a whisker of tapping new intraday highs, as investors welcomed a de-escalation in tensions between the United States and Iran.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 56.6 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 6874.2, pushed higher by gains in all sectors except for energy.
At its highs, the benchmark came within 4.5 points of joining the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite in tapping record levels. Wall Street was driven higher on Wednesday by an easing in risk aversion as the United States responsed in a measured fashion to an Iranian missile attack targeting Iraqi bases used by its troops earlier in the session.
“Iran-US tensions have de-escalated dramatically over the past 24 hours, despite the Iranian missile strikes yesterday,” said Tapas Strickland, economist at the National Australia Bank. “Some geopolitical analysts classed the strike as more symbolic in nature and being a ‘warning shot’ designed not to inflict too much damage on US assets.”