Australia shares higher at close of trade; S&P/ASX 200 up 0.48%

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Australia shares higher at close of trade; S&P/ASX 200 up 0.48%
Credit: © Reuters. – Australia equities were higher at the close on Friday, as gains in the Consumer Staples , Telecoms Services and Utilities sectors propelled shares higher.

At the close in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 added 0.48%.

The biggest gainers of the session on the S&P/ASX 200 were Wesfarmers Ltd (AX: WES ), which rose 6.21% or 2.560 points to trade at 43.760 at the close. South32 Ltd (AX: S32 ) added 5.78% or 0.185 points to end at 3.385 and Premier Investments Ltd (AX: PMV ) was up 5.63% or 0.810 points to 15.200 in late trade.

Biggest losers included Metcash Ltd (AX: MTS ), which lost 5.68% or 0.180 points to trade at 2.990 in late trade. Pilbara Minerals Ltd (AX: PLS ) declined 3.87% or 0.038 points to end at 0.932 and St Barbara Ltd (AX: SBM ) shed 2.22% or 0.090 points to 3.970.

Advancing stocks outnumbered falling ones by 684 to 536 and 338 ended unchanged on the Sydney Stock Exchange.

The S&P/ASX 200 VIX , which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was down 5.92% to 11.729 a new 1-month low.

In commodities trading, Gold Futures for April delivery was down 0.10% or 1.30 to $1316.50 a troy ounce. Meanwhile, Crude oil for delivery in April rose 0.02% or 0.01 to hit $61.20 a barrel, while the May Brent oil contract fell 0.05% or 0.03 to trade at $65.09 a barrel.

AUD/USD was down 0.05% to 0.7794, while AUD/JPY fell 0.46% to 82.56.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.09% at 90.06.

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