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Shares up nearly 1 per cent as banks keep rising

Australia’s banks have led gains on the share market for a second day after US markets were boosted by stopgap moves to aid the American economy.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 56.2 points, or 0.92 per cent, at 6166.4 points at 1200 AEST on Tuesday.

The All Ordinaries index was higher by 54.2 points, or 0.87 per cent, at 6301.3.

US markets finished higher on the first trading day since President Donald Trump made several moves to aid the coronavirus-stricken economy after talks for a bigger package produced no result.

Trump signed executive orders at the weekend to extend an expired benefit for unemployed workers, among other measures.

That prompted investors to buy into Aussie banks.

The financial sector was the best performer after the first two hours of trade, higher by 1.75 per cent.

ANZ was higher by 1.93 per cent to $18.52, the Commonwealth rose by 1.78 per cent to $75.30, NAB gained 2.58 per cent to $17.91 and Westpac was up by 2.54 per cent to $17.76.

The banks’ performance comes after the financial sector was Monday’s best performer and lifted the benchmark index to a 1.76 per cent gain.

There were no shock from virus cases announced in Australia on Tuesday morning.

Another 19 Victorians died and 331 new cases of the virus were recorded in that state.

NSW, the only other state where authorities are concerned about infection levels, recorded 22 new cases. Most were from a cluster at a school in Sydney’s northwest.

Elsewhere on the market, miners were doing nicely. BHP rose by 1.33 per cent to $40.37, Rio Tinto was higher by 1.83 per cent to $103.79 and Fortescue Metals was up by 1.65 per cent to $18.79.

Building products manufacturer James Hardie has gained 5.57 per cent to $31.84 after fibre cement sales in North America helped its first-quarter results.

Management expect full-year net operating profit to be between $330 million and $390 million. Hardie recorded a $352.8 million profit for 2020.

Sydney Airport is in a trading halt after it revealed plans for an equity raising and a hit to its first-half results. The shares last traded at $5.39.

Australia’s most active airport reported a net loss of $53.6 million for the first half of this calendar year – a dramatic turnaround from a profit of $17.3 million for the same time last year.

Management will cut costs and debt and warned jobs could be lost after the coronavirus pandemic forced it into the red.

Ampol said it would restart its refinery in Lytton in Brisbane during September.

The company brought forward maintenance when fuel demand dropped amid the coronavirus crisis.

Ampol shares were trading lower by 0.67 per cent to $29.55.

The Australian dollar was buying 71.69 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher from 71.67 US cents at Monday’s close.

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