SYDNEY, AAP – Australia’s share market was on course for its best week in the past 13 as most sectors traded higher.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 52.3 points, or 0.77 per cent, to 6817.8 at 1200 AEDT on Friday.
The ASX200 rose early to a session high of 6846.7, but has eased since.
The index was more than three per cent higher for the week.
Meanwhile the All Ordinaries was higher by 53.2 points, or 0.75 per cent, at 7091.1.
Among the sectors, telecommunications had the biggest gains, 1.59 per cent.
There were gains of more than one per cent for the heavyweight financial sector, as well as energy, industrials, consumer discretionaries and information technology.
In the US, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq posted record closing highs after more upbeat earnings reports and data suggesting the labour market may be stabilising.
The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits decreased further last week, according to a government report.
Democrats in the US Senate were poised to take a first step toward the ultimate passage of President Joe Biden’s $US1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal.
In Australia, Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe and his economics team have told federal politicians inflation could spike to three per cent in six months time before retreating again.
However Mr Lowe said inflation would have to be within the central bank’s target band for several quarters before it raised interest rates.
“I am expecting we’ll want to see inflation between two and three (per cent) for a few quarters and then there’d be strong prospects that it is going to stay there,” he told parliament’s economics committee.
In Melbourne, a quarantine hotel worker is infected with the UK variant of COVID-19, although his close contacts have so far tested negative.
The man was working at a hotel where Australian Open tennis players, officials and support staff were staying.
In Western Australia, there have been four consecutive days of no new community COVID-19 infections.
People in Perth, the Peel region and the South West will end a five-day lockdown later on Friday.
On the ASX, News Corporation had the biggest gains of large companies, higher by 12.66 per cent to $28.28 after its second quarter earnings report.
The media company said earnings rose 40 per cent to $US497 million, compared to the previous corresponding period.
Subscription video services earnings rose 77 per cent to $US124 million, while book publishing climbed 65 per cent to $US104 million.
While News may be better known for its media titles, there was no change to the earnings of its news media division, which were $US66 million.
Property advertising group REA, which is part-owned by News Corporation, reported an increase in first-half net profit of 13 per cent to $172.1 million.
Chief executive Owen Wilson said the result was remarkable given Melbourne was in lockdown for much of the half.
Shareholders will receive an interim dividend of 59 cents per share, higher from the previous interim payout of 55 cents per share.
The company said there were plenty of people showing interest in Australian homes due to low interest rates.
Shares were higher by 3.42 per cent to $159.79.
In banking, ANZ rose 1.12 per cent to $25.06, the Commonwealth was up 1.05 per cent to $87.98, NAB gained 1.37 per cent to $25.04 and Westpac gained 0.78 per cent to $21.88.
In mining, BHP was down 0.02 per cent to $43.90, Fortsecue was up 0.39 per cent to $23.16 and Rio Tinto dropped 0.63 per cent to $72.50.
In earlier US results, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 332.26 points, or 1.08 per cent, to 31,055.86, the S&P 500 gained 41.57 points, or 1.09 per cent, to 3,871.74 and the Nasdaq Composite added 167.20 points, or 1.23 per cent, to 13,777.74.
The Aussie dollar was buying 76.00 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 76.26 US cents at Thursday’s close.