SYDNEY, AAP – Australia’s share market has closed above 6900 points for the first time since February last year, after BHP delighted investors with its interim dividend.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed higher by 48.4 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 6917.3 on Tuesday.

The index is near the record close of 7162.49, set in February last year, just before stocks tumbled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The All Ordinaries closed better by 39.6 points, or 0.55 per cent, at 7189.3.

Market giant BHP closed higher by 2.73 per cent to $47.00 after it declared an interim dividend of $US1.01 per share, up from 65 US cents in the previous corresponding period.

The Aussie dollar was buying 77.95 US cents at 1618 AEDT, higher from 77.82 US cents at Monday’s close.