Australian shares powered to fresh a record high on Friday, fuelled by another record close on Wall Street, a strong set of retail sales figures and easing geopolitical concerns in the Middle East.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rallied 54.8 points, or 0.8 per cent, to close at 6929 points, after surpassing the previous intraday record high of 6893.7 set in November last year shortly after the market opened. Buying was widespread, with 138 of the 200 companies within the index booking gains for the session.
For the week, the benchmark jumped 2.9 per cent, the largest increase since early February 2018. Year to date, the market has already gained 3.7 per cent, adding to the 18.4 per cent advance recorded in 2019.
“Sharemarkets pushed sharply higher as the US and Iran appeared to step back from escalating their conflict,” said Shane Oliver, AMP Capital’s head of investment strategy and chief economist. “This saw US shares push to a new record high and the positive global lead saw the same in Australia with the local market breaking more decisively above its pre-GFC high.”