Australia shares higher at close of trade; S&P/ASX 200 up 0.24%

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Australia shares higher at close of trade; S&P/ASX 200 up 0.24%
Credit: © Reuters. – Australia equities were higher at the close on Thursday, as gains in the Healthcare , Utilities and Metals & Mining sectors propelled shares higher.

At the close in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.24%.

The biggest gainers of the session on the S&P/ASX 200 were Bega Cheese Ltd (AX: BGA ), which rose 16.85% or 0.755 points to trade at 5.235 at the close. CSL Ltd (AX: CSL ) added 12.47% or 12.360 points to end at 111.480 and Bluescope Steel Ltd (AX: BSL ) was up 5.54% or 0.570 points to 10.850 in late trade.

Biggest losers included Galaxy Resources Ltd (AX: GXY ), which lost 6.98% or 0.045 points to trade at 0.600 in late trade. Viva Energy Reit Ltd (AX: VVR ) declined 3.36% or 0.080 points to end at 2.300 and Vocus Fpo (AX: VOC ) shed 3.21% or 0.140 points to 4.220.

Declining stocks outnumbered rising ones by 554 to 477 and 330 ended unchanged on the Sydney Stock Exchange.

The S&P/ASX 200 VIX , which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was down 0.45% to 13.251.

In commodities trading, Gold for February delivery was down 0.86% or 10.45 to $1201.65 a troy ounce. Meanwhile, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.84% or 0.43 to hit $51.51 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.85% or 0.46 to trade at $54.38 a barrel.

AUD/USD was up 0.15% to 0.7518, while AUD/JPY rose 0.17% to 86.22.

The US Dollar Index was down 0.05% at 101.26.

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