Sept 1 (Reuters) - Australian shares finished slightly higher on Friday ahead of U.S. payrolls data due later in the day, though a fall in Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s shares capped gains.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls are expected to increase by 180,000 in August, while private payrolls are expected to rise by 179,000 according to a Thomson Reuters poll.
The financial sector gained as three of Australia’s “Big Four” banks rose. Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell after it issued a statement stating that its own internal reporting had flagged shortcomings in its monitoring of offshore transactions as early as February.
Earlier in the day, Sky News Business said CBA’s confidential review of its institutional banking and markets division showed transaction monitoring was “non-existent or minimal across almost two-thirds” of that division.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2 percent, or 10.078 points at 5724.6 at the close of trade. The benchmark fell for the second straight week.
The metals and mining index closed 0.6 percent higher touching a new three year high. It was driven by news that manufacturing activity in China, Australia’s biggest export market, unexpectedly accelerated in August and underpinned the demand outlook for steel.
China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) released on Thursday rose to 51.7 in August from 51.4 the previous month.
Chinese rebar steel futures rose more than 2 percent and iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange gained 2.5 percent
OZ Minerals Ltd closed 2.7 percent higher on firmer copper prices while gold miner Newcrest Mining Ltd closed 1.8 percent up despite mild profit-taking in gold.
The healthcare sector climbed as CSL Ltd and Resmed Inc closed 1.9 percent and 1.8 percent higher respectively.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.1 percent higher percent, or 4.88 points to finish the session at 7821.98.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd closed at a record high, pushing the index higher.
Material stocks gained with Fletcher Building Ltd up 2.6 percent.
Reporting by Nicole Pinto; Editing by Eric Meijer