Energy suppliers and banks helped Australia’s share market higher as investors remained optimistic about a possible breakthrough in developing a coronavirus vaccine.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was up 80.5 points, or 1.26 per cent, to 6421 at 1200 AEDT on Wednesday.
The index reached a session high of 6431.3 in the first hour of trade, though had been trading lower than the early heights of Tuesday.
The All Ordinaries rose by 79.4 points, or 1.21 per cent, to 6623.4.
Information technology was the sector which gained the most, 2.89 per cent.
Energy was next highest, up 2.79 per cent. The heavyweight financial sector was better by 1.67 per cent.
US markets had mixed results as investors sold technology stocks that benefited from virus lockdowns and favoured sectors that suffered most during the pandemic.
Pfizer on Tuesday said a vaccine it is developing with German partner BioNTech SE was 90 per cent effective against COVID-19.
The Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index rose further in November to a seven-year high as optimists again held the upper hand.
Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said the unwinding of coronavirus restrictions across Victoria and the reopening of the Victoria-NSW border were the cause.
The Reserve Bank also made modest cuts to interest rates during the November 2-6 survey.
Victoria has reached 12 days without new coronavirus deaths or cases, after severe lockdown measures were eased.
Victoria’s second-largest airport, Avalon, will ramp up operations just before Christmas as daily domestic flights resume.
There were no cases or deaths in NSW.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia has reported a 16 per cent fall in quarterly cash earnings, citing ongoing pressure on margins due to historic low interest rates.
Australia’s biggest mortgage lender generated net cash earnings, its preferred measure of performance, of $1.8 billion in the first quarter of the financial year, down from the same period last year.
Shares were up 2.23 per cent to $74.02. Among other banks, ANZ gained 1.63 per cent to $20.52, NAB rose 2.3 per cent to $21.75 and Westpac lost 0.21 per cent to $18.64.
Energy companies were doing well from hope a COVID-19 vaccine will lead to more travel.
Beach was the best of the big names, up 4.18 per cent to $1.49.
In mining, BHP rose 1.58 per cent to $36.60 and Rio Tinto crept up 1.15 per cent to $96.54. Fortescue Metals, which has its annual general meeting later today, fell 1.25 per cent to $17.38.
In the US earlier, the S&P 500 dipped 4.97 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 3,545.53. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 262.95 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 29,420.92, and the Nasdaq composite dropped 159.93, or 1.4 per cent, to 11,553.86.
The Aussie dollar was buying 72.80 US cents at 1200 AEDT, slightly down from 72.82 US cents at Tuesday’s close.