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Headline indices of the Australian equity market closed higher for a fourth straight session on Thursday, 04 July 2019, on tracking gains in the Wall Street overnight, with shares in healthcare, financials, and property trusts being notable gainers. At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index advanced 32.57 points, or 0.5%, at 6,718.02 points, while the broader All Ordinaries rose 30.74 points, or 0.45%, at 6,800.86.

Shares of healthcare companies gained, with Pharma giant CSL up 1.7% to A$220.84, meanwhile Healius was up 1.3% to A$3.06 and AusCann rose 4.2% to A$37.

Financial stocks gained, with big four banks led rally. ANZ was up 1.3% to A$28.16, Commonwealth up 1.1% to A$81.83, NAB up 1.1% to A$26.92 and Westpac up 1.1% to A$28.21.

The energy sector was also higher with the price of crude oil reversing some of its steep 4% decline from the previous session. Local energy companies were higher with Origin Energy (ORG) up 1.8%, among the standouts.

The materials sector slid after iron ore futures retreated. Mining giant BHP was down 0.1% to A$42.02, Rio Tinto was down 0.1% to A$106.90 and Fortescue Metals was down 0.1% to A$9.39.

Consumer discretionary shares were in the red, after ABS statistics for May indicated lower than expected levels of retail spending. Flight Centre was down 1.7% to A$42.25, 3P Learning was down 3.5% to 98 cents and Jumbo Interactive was down 1% to A$20.

On the economic front, Australia retail sales rose 0.1% month-on-month in May, offsetting a 0.1% drop in April, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed Thursday. Food and clothing sales decreased 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively. Department store sales dropped 0.4%. Meanwhile, café and restaurant sales grew 0.7%. Another report from ABS showed that the number of job vacancies fell 1.1% from preceding period in the May quarter but grew 1.8% from the previous year.

CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar surged to an almost nine-week high against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The Australian dollar changed hands at 70.46 US cents, from 69.94 US cents on Wednesday.

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