Investors have brightened up to start the week’s trading on the Australian market and shares were higher by half a per cent.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 30.4 points, or 0.51 per cent, at 5955.9 points at 1200 AEST on Monday.
The first session after the Victorian government’s decision to continue stage four virus restrictions in Melbourne for two weeks led to a session low of 5869.9 in the first 20 minutes before a recovery.
The All Ordinaries index was higher by 32.9 points, or 0.53 per cent, to 6141.7.
The materials sector, which includes the miners, was the best performer and higher by 1.8 per cent.
The financial sector was next, up by 1.36 per cent.
The biggest laggard was industrials, down 1.27 per cent.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a free COVID-19 vaccine would be made available progressively next year, should trials prove successful.
The Oxford vaccine is slated to be available from early 2021 while the University of Queensland version is on track for mid-year.
It follows the government’s initial letter of intent signed with the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca, and talks with the University of Queensland/CSL.
CSL has reached deals to supply the federal government with vaccines from both universities.
CSL was higher by 1.01 per cent to $281.89.
Activity in Australia’s services sector sank further in August, when Victoria imposed a second round of coronavirus restrictions.
The Australian Industry Group’s performance of services index fell 1.5 points to 42.5 in August, remaining below the 50-mark which separates contraction in the industry from expansion.
In mining, BHP was higher by 2.4 per cent to $37.06, Rio Tinto was up 2.55 per cent to $98.02 and Fortescue gained 3.19 per cent to $18.08.
In banking, ANZ was higher by 2.16 per cent to $18.19, the Commonwealth rose by 1.63 per cent to $67.82, NAB gained 1.84 per cent to $17.67 and Westpac climbed 2.34 per cent to $17.46.
US markets closed lower on Friday after investors dumped heavyweight technology stocks due to concerns about high valuations and a patchy economic recovery.
The selling followed a government report showing that US hiring slowed to 1.4 million last month, the fewest jobs since the pandemic began, even as the nation’s unemployment rate improved to 8.4 per cent from 10.2 per cent.
The Aussie dollar was buying 72.87 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher from 72.68 US cents at the close on Friday.