Local shares rose over the past five sessions in spite of a stronger dollar putting pressure on exporters while Australia's largest trading partner China struggles to reform its credit market and re-balance its economy without putting the brakes on growth.
Investor focus has drifted away from the threat to energy and financial market stability caused by ongoing political tensions in Europe following Russia's annexation of Crimea and its subsequent expulsion from the G8.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 28.8 points, or 0.5 per cent, over the past week to 5366.9, while the broader All Ordinaries Index added 0.4 per cent to 4376.8. On Friday the S&P/ASX 200 Index added 16.8 points, or 0.3 per cent, while the All Ordinaries Index gained 17 points, or 0.3 per cent led by the big four banks.
Gains in the biggest banks and resource stocks combined to lift the bourse over the past five sessions. Westpac Banking Corporation lifted 2.4 per cent to $34.43. Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank each rose 1.9 per cent to $77.14 and $35.32 respectively. ANZ Banking Group added 1.8 per cent to $32.82.
Investment Bank Macquarie Group added 5.1 per cent to $57.65 after flagging on Monday that profit for the year ended March 31 could beat previous guidance by 45 per cent.
Resources giant BHP Billiton rose 1.6 per cent to $36.14. Main rival Rio Tinto added 3 per cent to $63.24 despite dipping on Thursday as it was revealed the $US 6 billion Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper project in Mongolia is likely to be delayed for another four months.
"The biggest ASX-listed resource producers are offering better value than they were a month ago due to the concern among international investors about Chinese demand strength," Tyndall Asset Management portfolio manager Brad Potter said. "But bulk commodity prices are trading below consensus and if they stay around current levels much longer analysts will likely start downgrading the big resource stocks."
Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group rose 7.1 per cent to $5.34 as the spot price for iron ore, landed in China, gained $US1.60 per tonne to $US112.30 a tonne.
In telecommunications, Telstra Corporation added 3 cents to $5.03, while TPG Telecom soared 20.5 per cent to a record high $6.69. The discount mobile and internet provider beat analyst expectations on Tuesday when it reported a 15 per cent rise in first-half net profit and upgraded full-year earnings guidance, fuelling speculation it could have rival iiNet in sight as a takeover target.
Premier Investments was the best-performing stock in the ASX 200, climbing 20.7 per cent to $9.61, after the retail group, which owns brands Peter Alexander and Smiggle, beat expectations to report a 12.1 per cent rise in first-half net profit after sales rose 5.3 per cent and chairman Solomon Lew said the group could consider a major acquisition.
Information technology was the worst-performing sector, down 2.5 per cent, amid fears a sell-off in US technology stocks is spreading to Asia.
Gold stocks were weak as the precious metal's spot price fell to $US1294.22 at Friday's local close compared to $US1332.62 at the previous week's close, while the dollar appreciated to US92.72¢ at the local close compared to US90.66¢ at the previous week's close.
Australia's biggest gold producer, Newcrest Mining, fell 7.1 per cent to $9.80. Junior goldminer Medusa Mining was the worst-performing stock in the ASX 200, shedding 11.6 per cent at $1.99.
According to Citibank research, US92¢ is an important tipping point above which Australian exporters find it difficult to remain competitive. Vaccine and drug exporter CSL was the biggest weight on the bourse, losing 1.8 per cent to $69.85.