Miners back in favour as they lift ASX

BHP, Rio Tinto and gold miners had sizeable gains as investors rushed back to commodity stocks and lifted the Australian share market.

The two heavyweight miners on Tuesday each gained more than 2.5 per cent to help lift the market indices.

The miners' shares closed at $48.23 and $123.13 respectively.

The other major miner, Fortescue, rose 0.8 per cent to $22.66.

Investors had sent most mining stocks lower for the past two trading days.

The miners' improved performances helped the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index close higher by 39.1 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 7067.9.

The All Ordinaries closed up by 36.7 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 7323.5 points.

Miners were helped by the price of gold climbing by about one per cent overnight.

Gold miner Northern Star jumped 4.2 per cent to $10.92. Rival Evolution climbed 3.28 per cent to $4.73.

Energy shares had the next biggest gain after oil prices were higher overnight.

More US states eased coronavirus lockdowns and the European Union sought to attract more travellers.

Santos was up 2.35 per cent to $6.98. Oil Search was better by 2.14 per cent to $3.82.

Meanwhile the Reserve Bank upgraded its forecasts for the Australian economy.

The central bank raised its projected growth this year from 3.5 per cent to 4.75 per cent.

Board members left the cash rate and other policy measures at a record low 0.1 per cent.

CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian said the RBA had become more optimistic about the year.

"But they're not as bullish on inflation and wages," he said.

"So that offsets some of the optimism and means rates aren't going anywhere, anytime soon."

The RBA reiterated that an increase to the cash rate was not expected until 2024.

The central bank will give its statement on monetary policy on Friday.

In company news, jobs directory Seek raised its profit forecast as small to medium businesses across Australia and New Zealand hire more workers than expected.

The company raised its full-year forecast for net profit from $100 million to $140 million, and promised a special dividend.

Shareholders will receive a special dividend of 20 cents per share from the sale of a stake in a Chinese business.

Shares were higher by 1.85 per cent to $31.30.

Furniture trader Nick Scali raised its profit forecast by 90 per cent as Australians continue to splurge on household goods during the pandemic.

The company said full-year net profit after tax would be between $78 million to $80 million.

Investors appeared to think Nick Scali should have greater profits.

They sent shares down by 2.62 per cent to $10.42.

Financial shares were little changed.

Among the big four banks, the Commonwealth proved best and rose 0.84 per cent to $90.45.

ANZ Bank lost 0.93 per cent to $28.83 prior to its first-half earnings on Wednesday.

Technology shares fared worst and lost almost two per cent.

Afterpay lost 2.82 per cent to $110.79.

The US Nasdaq dropped 0.48 per cent overnight after declines in some high-flying growth stocks.

There were minor gains for the Dow and S&P 500 as investors moves into cyclical and "economy reopening" stocks continued.

The Australian dollar was buying 77.31 US cents at 1722 AEST, higher from 77.10 US cents at Monday's close.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 39.1 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 7067.9 on Tuesday.

* The All Ordinaries closed up by 36.7 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 7323.5 points.

* At 1722 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was higher by eight points, or 0.11 per cent, to 7043.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 77.31 US cents, from 77.10 cents on Monday

* 84.61 Japanese yen, from 84.68 yen

* 64.30 Euro cents, from 64.20 cents

* 55.77 British pence, from 55.83 pence

* 107.97 NZ cents, from 107.72 cents.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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