SYDNEY, AAP – Investors have shrugged off a coronavirus lockdown being extended for Melbourne and kept the Australian share market trading higher.
The ASX was higher by about 0.7 per cent shortly after Victorian authorities said the lockdown will continue in the metropolitan area for another seven days.
Some restrictions will ease for the rest of the state.
Victoria recorded six local infections on Wednesday, bringing the total active infections to 60.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was higher by 52.3 points, or 0.73 per cent, to 7194.9 at 1215 AEST.
The All Ordinaries was up by 55.3 points, or 0.74 per cent, to 7447.4.
Energy shares were surging by 3.13 per cent after OPEC chose not to increase oil supply by any more than planned.
Oil producers stuck to their April plan to return 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) of supply during May through July as they anticipate demand will rise.
Oil prices rose, and so did shares:
* Santos shot up by 4.92 per cent to $7.25.
* Origin rose 4.26 per cent to $4.16.
* Woodside gained 4.07 per cent to $23.01.
Materials shares were the other big improvers and climbed by 1.8 per cent.
Iron ore prices rose to about $US200 per tonne.
BHP climbed 2.94 per cent to $49.32. Fortescue rose 2.45 per cent to $23.38. Rio Tinto increased by 2.32 per cent to $127.50.
There were gains of more than one per cent for shares in property, industrials and utilities.
Healthcare shares were worst and dropped 0.81 per cent.
CSL fell 0.71 per cent to $285.94.
Meanwhile the Australian economy grew by 1.8 per cent in the March quarter to fully recover from last year’s recession and back to pre-pandemic levels.
Economists’ forecasts centred on a 1.5 per cent expansion for the first three months of the year following the more than three per cent gains from both the previous two quarters.
The national accounts data showed the main contributors to growth were private business investment, housing investment and household spending.
US markets provided a weak lead as investors weighed the latest economic data for signs of a rebound and rising inflation.
US manufacturing activity picked up in May as pent-up demand in a reopening economy boosted orders.
But unfinished work piled up because of shortages of raw materials and labour.
On the ASX, the banks were mixed.
Bendigo Bank was best and higher by 1.31 per cent to $10.39.
Westpac was among the worst and lower by 0.15 per cent to $26.16.
Engineering group CIMIC said subsidiary UGL won a $150 million deal to make and install a transmission line in Queensland.
The line will connect the Kidston Clean Energy Hub to the national electricity grid for its client, Powerlink.
UGL will also build a switching station at Mt Fox.
CIMIC shares were higher by 2.08 per cent to $21.28.
Online learning provider Keypath made its ASX debut and slipped 4.58 per cent to $3.54.
The company provides study programs to more than 30,000 university students in Australia, Malaysia, North America and the UK.
Keypath made almost half of its sales in Australia last financial year.
The Australian dollar was buying 77.62 US cents at 1215 AEST, higher from 77.39 US cents at Tuesday’s close.