Australian shares have finished higher as investors cheered optimism about a potential US-China trade deal.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 19 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 6,186.3 points at 1615 AEDT on Monday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 21.7 points, or 0.35 per cent, at 6,263.6.
The US-China optimism came after President Donald Trump tweeted that talks between US and Chinese negotiators had progressed and he was delaying an increase on US tariffs on China scheduled for Friday.
The banking sector was under pressure all day after Labor announced it would impose a $640 million levy on the nation’s largest banks.
“It’s not hugely economical, but it’s brought home to investors how politically vulnerable the sector is,” said CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy.
But the sector surged in the last minutes of trading to finish higher, with three of the four big banks up slightly – all except Commonwealth, which was down 0.12 per cent.
The ASX has now closed higher three days in a row, and six of the last seven days,
The tech sector was up 3.11 per cent, leading the market.
Appen led gainers after the Sydney-based producer of human-annotated datasets for machine learning said last year’s profit was up 192 per cent, to $49 million.
Mr McCarthy called its results “beautiful” and said they would prompt analysts to re-value the company, which closed up 21.74 per cent to $22.90, an all-time high.
Afterpay Touch surged 19.19 per cent after the buy now, pay later lender said a Senate committee’s recommendations to reform the industry wouldn’t hurt its business.
GTN moved 19.47 per cent higher, hitting a two-month high, after the broadcast media advertising platform announced it would spend up to $20 million on a stock buy-back to prop up its depressed share price.
Mining giant BHP was up 0.90 per cent while Rio Tinto added 0.45 per cent and Fortescue Metals rose 2.06 per cent.
QBE closed up 4.18 per cent after reporting a $546 million full-year profit.
Lendlease was down 6.41 per cent after the property and infrastructure group’s first-half profit fell 96.3 per cent to $15.7 million.
BlueScope Steel was up 6.32 per cent after reporting it had lifted first-half profit by 42 per cent to $624.3 million.
Brambles was up 2.84 per cent after the logistics company announced the sale of its plastic containers business IFCO.
Boral was down 1.21 per cent after the building materials supplier blamed heavy rain in the US and Australia for a 6.4 per cent fall in first-half profit.
G8 Education was down 11.02 per cent after Australia’s largest childcare and early education provider reported full-year profit fell 11 per cent.
Adairs was down 7.35 per cent after cutting its earning guidance on a depreciating dollar and a tough retail environment.
Shares in oOh!media were down 8.58 per cent after the outdoor advertiser reported its full-year profit slipped 4.3 per cent to $31.6 million.
Telstra closed down 0.93 per cent to $3.21.
The Aussie dollar is buying 71.48 US cents. from 70.96 US cents on Friday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 19 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 6,186.3 points at 1630 AEDT on Monday.
* The All Ordinaries was up 21.7 points, or 0.35 per cent, at 6,263.6.
* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was flat at 6145.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 70.96 US cents, from 71.53 US on Thursday
* 78.61 Japanese yen, from 79.12
* 62.60 euro cents, from 63.03
* 54.44 British pence, from 54.70
* 104.72 NZ cents, from 104.12
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1331.61 per fine ounce, from $US1325.53 on Friday.