ASX higher in lunchtime trade as BHP shares rise above $35 and bank shares regain ground

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Rising commodity prices helped fuel a jump in the materials and energy sectors and lift the Australian share market at noon, while the under-fire banks also regained some ground.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 20.9 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 6,147.1 points at 1200 AEST on Wednesday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 20.4 points, or 0.33 per cent, at 6,266.2.

Metal prices jumped overnight to help local miners climb higher on Wednesday, with BHP shares rising 1.08 per cent to $35.07, Rio Tinto up 1.15 per cent to $78.97, and South32 Ltd up 0.9 per cent to $3.945 – though Fortescue Metals was down 3.87 per cent to $3.73.

Rising precious metals, which proved a safe-haven for risk-averse overnight investors, saw local gold miners eke out the biggest early gains, including Newcrest Mining, up 2.41 per cent to $19.55, Northern Star, up 4.01 per cent to $8.695, and Evolution,up 3.8 per cent to $2.73.

Oil prices cooled overnight but were still close to four-year highs and continued to push the energy sector higher on Wednesday, with shares 0.81 per cent higher.

Caltex, Origin Energy, Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search Ltd were all in the green.

Shares in industrials, telcos and utilities were also higher at noon, while health care was down and info tech flat.

Lingering mistrust towards the banks, brought on by allegations exposed in the royal commission, kept the financial sector subdued, though some losses were retraced during the morning’s trading.

CBA shares were up 0.6 per cent to $69.99 at noon, while Westpac was up 0.59 per cent to $27.40.

NAB and ANZ were flat.

The Aussie dollar dropped after an opening bounce, and is buying 71.87 US cents, from 71.99 US cents on Tuesday.

With AAP

Contributors to this article may own shares in some of the companies mentioned in this article. The Capital Club has a thorough disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.
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Lauren Surplice is a keen follower of the stock market, investing in individual companies and funds. She follows the daily stock market news, covering the ASX stocks that are moving the markets. You can contact Lauren at laurens@thecapitalclub.com.au