Australian shares hit a 12-month high on Monday

Monday, 11 April 2011 03:07

Australian shares hit a 12-month high on Monday party due to a strong rally in BHP Billiton after it denied speculation it was considering a takeover of Woodside Petroleum which is Australia's largest oil and gas company.

Woodside remained a likely target for BHP but the global miner might prefer to return more capital to its shareholders than pay a very expensive price for Woodside. BHP shares rallied 3.8 % to A$49.55 on four times its average daily volume while Rio Tinto added 2.4 % to A$88.30.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index gained 30.6 points to 4,971.2, a one-year high and close to breaching 5,000. The All Ordinaries index also closed at its highest level in more than two and a half years gaining 28 points to 5,065.

The Australian dollar was trading at 105.8,  89.5 JPY, 0.73 euro, and more than 0.645 against the pound in late afternoon trading.

While the Australian dollar hit 29-year highs, spot gold soared to an all-time record. This morning gold was trading over $US1,478 an ounce.