Australian shares have closed higher, although a broad rally at the open had lost its momentum a bit by the afternoon.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished up 24.7 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 6,217.4 points at 1615 AEDT on Monday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 24.7 points, or 0.46 per cent, at 6,320.4.

The index gained 32 points in the first nine minutes of trade and then for the most part sunk lower the rest of the day.

Tech shares were up a collective 2.06 per cent, with Xero up 3.72 per cent and Afterpay Touch up 2.15 per cent.

Consumer staples gained a collective 1.17 per cent, with Woolworths up 1.53 per cent and Coca-Cola Amatail up 3.56 per cent.

There was “a lot of enthusiasm” in the market with clear signs the US and China are close to a deal on trade and a bounce in Australia’s building approvals numbers for January, said CMC chief market strategist Michael McCarthy.

“It looks like confidence is on the rise.”

The normal safe havens of gold, bonds and the Japanese yen have all moved lower in recent days, while growth assets such as iron ore and oil have increased in value, Mr McCarthy said.

There were signs of bargain hunting, as six of the 10 stocks showing the biggest gains were those previously under pressure, Mr McCarthy said.

BHP was up 1.18 per cent and Rio Tinto up 1.59 per cent on higher iron ore prices.

Infant formula makers Bellamy’s was up 12 per cent while Bubs Australia was up 10.71 per cent.

The big banks were mixed, with Westpac flat, NAB up 0.2 per cent, ANZ down 0.61 per cent and CBA down 0.4 per cent.

Telco Telstra was unchanged while pharma giant CSL was up 1.66 per cent.

The Aussie dollar is buying 70.91 US cents, from 70.92 US cents on Friday.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 24.7 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 6,217.4 points at 1630 AEDT on Monday.

* The All Ordinaries was up 28.7 points, or 0.46 per cent, at 6,302.5.

* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down four points, to 6209.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 70.91 US cents, from 70.92 US on Friday

* 79.39 Japanese yen, from 79.23

* 62.40 euro cents, from 62.36

* 53.57 British pence, from 53.48

* 104.16 NZ cents, from 104.04


The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1293.83 per fine ounce, from $US1312.77 on Friday.