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Christmas rally swings into town on S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO)

The Australian share market got into the Christmas mood on Thursday, despite an ambiguous Australian labour market readout for November.

The unemployment rate rose to 3.9 per cent, up from a revised 3.8 per cent in October, but the economy also added 61,500 mostly full-time jobs, thrashing expectations for 11,500 new roles.

But the mood was distinctly positive on the trading screens, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: XJO) index putting on 120.1 points, or 1.7 per cent, to 7,377.9, while the broader All Ordinaries (INDEXASX: XAO) rose 130.3 points, also 1.7 per cent, to 7,599.4.

Every sector of the ASX pushed higher, with the interest-rate-sensitive real estate sector the biggest gainer, soaring 3.9 per cent. Property fund manager Charter Hall Group (ASX: CHC) soared $1.30, or 11.8 per cent, to $12.34; Centuria Capital Group (ASX: CNI) rose 14.5 cents, or 9.2 per cent to $1.72; and Lendlease Group (ASX: LLC) gained 37 cents, or 5.3 per cent, to $7.36.

The heavyweight mining sector was up 2.4 per cent, with BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) rising 38 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $48.25; Fortescue Ltd (ASX: FMG) making a fresh record high with a gain of 75 cents, or 2.8 per cent, to $27.46; and Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO) accruing 54 cents, or 0.4 per cent. to $130.04.

Charter Hall share price

Goldminers go on a tear

Gold miners reacted to the gold price blowing through US$2,000 an ounce. Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) added 99 cents, or 8.1 per cent, to $13.18; Evolution Mining Ltd (ASX: EVN) lifted 14 cents, or 3.9 per cent, to $3.70; Gold Road Resources Ltd (ASX: GOR) surged 13.5 cents, or 7.5 per cent, to $1.945; Bellevue Gold Ltd (ASX: BGL) put on 6 cents, or 3.7 per cent, to $1.69; Perseus Mining Ltd (ASX: PRU) jumped 8.5 cents, or 4.8 per cent, to $1.865; Newmont Corporation CDI (ASX: NEM) added $2.49 , or 4.3 per cent, to $59.91; De Grey Mining Limited (ASX: DEG) rose 9 cents, or 7.4 per cent, to $1.30; and Ramelius Resources Ltd (ASX: RMS) was up 8 cents, or 5.1 per cent, to $1.56.

Northern Star share price

In coal, Coronado Global Resources Inc (ASX: CRN) strengthened 7 cents, or 4.3 per cent, to $1.71; New Hope Corporation Ltd (ASX: NHC) added 7 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $5.04; and Stanmore Resources Ltd (ASX: SMR) picked up 1 cent, to $3.79; but Whitehaven Coal Ltd (ASX: WHC) retreated 3 cents, or 0.4 per cent, to $7.13; and Yancoal Australia Ltd (ASX: YAL) shed 4 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $4.76.

In lithium, producer Pilbara Minerals Ltd (ASX: PLS) spiked 30 cents, or 8.6 per cent, to $3.79; fellow producer Allkem Ltd (ASX: AKE) did even better, with a gain of 91 cents, or 9.9 per cent, to $10.06; IGO Ltd (ASX: IGO), which mines nickel and lithium, surged 85 cents, or 11.3 per cent, to $8.37; while Mineral Resources Ltd (ASX: MIN), which produces iron ore as well as lithium, lifted $3.89, or 6.3 per cent, to $65.40.

Among the lithium project hopefuls, Core Lithium Ltd (ASX: CXO) gained 2 cents, or 8.2 per cent, to 26.5 cents; Liontown Resources Ltd (ASX: LTR) surged 10.5 cents, or 8.3 per cent, to $1.375; and US-based Piedmont Lithium Inc (ASX: PLL) added 3.5 cents, or 9.5 per cent, to 40.5 cents.

Among the big banks, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) was up $1.37, or 1.3 per cent, to $109.52; ANZ Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: ANZ) gained 25 cents, or 1 per cent, to $25.24; Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) rose 15 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to $22.29; and National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) lifted 19 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to $29.95. Global investment bank and wealth manger Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) gained $6.10, or 3.5 per cent, to $178.47.

Biotech heavyweight CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) advanced $4.42, or 1.6 per cent, to $276.76; Resmed CDI (ASX: RMD) was up 47 cents, or 1.9 per cent, to $25.84; but Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH) was a rare downer, sliding $1.28, or 0.4 per cent, to $297.50. New Zealand-based breast cancer detection company Volpara Health Technologies Ltd (ASX: VHT) rocketed 32 cents, or 41.3 per cent, to $1.095 after agreeing to be acquired by South Korean medical software company Lunit Inc (KOSDAQ: 328130) for $295.7 million.

CSL share price

New record for heady Dow Jones

In the US, the 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX: .DJI) notched a fresh record high, ending the day up 158 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 37,248.35. The broader S&P 500 (INDEXSP: .INX) advanced 12.46 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4,719.55, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ: .IXIC) index gained 27.59 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 14,761.56. The market enjoyed a surprise gain in US retail sales, which seemed to give investors further confidence that 2024 would bring a soft economic landing.

On the bond market, the 10-year Treasury note yield dropped below 4 per cent for the first time since August, retreating 10.3 basis points to 3.922 per cent, as traders bet on rate cuts for 2024. The 2-year yield slipped 3.4 basis points, to 4.399 per cent.

Gold rose US$3.71, or 0.2 per cent, to US$2,036.37 an ounce. The global benchmark Brent crude oil grade leapt US$2.33, or 3.1 per cent, to US$76.59 a barrel, and US West Texas Intermediate oil rose US$2.11, or 3 per cent, to US$71.58 a barrel.

The Australian dollar is buying 66.96 US cents this morning, down from 67.13 US cents at the ASX close on Thursday.

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