Shares have continued their strong showing in October on the Aussie market after RBA Governor Philip Lowe said the bank has not ruled out cutting the cash rate.
Despite a negative US lead, the S&P/ASX200 benchmark was higher by 50.3 points, or 0.81 per cent, to 6229.5 at 1200 AEDT on Thursday.
The rise put the ASX200 above 6200 for the second time this week. The index had not breached that mark for four months prior to this week.
The All Ordinaries index was up by 47.6 points, or 0.74 per cent, to 6435.
Earlier Mr Lowe said the RBA board had been considering what more it could do to support jobs, incomes and businesses on the road to economic recovery after the coronavirus.
“As the economy opens up, though, it is reasonable to expect that further monetary easing would get more traction than was the case earlier,” he told a Citi Australian and New Zealand investment conference.
The comments, and the prospect of a November rate cut, led the Aussie dollar to drop from 71.68 US cents at 0900 AEDT to 71.29 US cents at 0950 AEDT.
Mr Lowe was given more to ponder by September jobs figures, which showed the unemployment rate rose 0.1 per cent to 6.9 per cent.
Yet the rise was smaller than expected. Economists had expected the rate to spike to 7.1 per cent.
In aviation, Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah will step down within weeks once the airline’s sale to US private equity group Bain Capital is completed, the airline’s administrator said.
Jayne Hrdlicka, a former head of Jetstar, will take over the top job at the financial close of the deal, expected in early November.
On the ASX, energy and miners led the gains by 2.7 and 1.67 per cent respectively.
Origin Energy was the best of the big names, up 4.35 per cent to $4.55.
In mining, BHP was higher by 2.69 per cent to $37.00 despite telling its annual general meeting late on Wednesday that Chinese coal customers have asked to defer orders.
Trade industry reports last week suggested that the Chinese government told some Chinese ports not to accept Australian coal.
Rio Tinto was higher 1.59 per cent to $96.85, Fortescue was up 1.89 per cent to $16.70 and South32 was better by 3.11 per cent to $2.15.
Information technology was the only sector lower, down 0.83 per cent.
Afterpay dropped 1.09 per cent to $95.04 after reaching a record price of $98.68 on Wednesday.
The big banks were all higher. ANZ rose by 1.63 per cent to $19.61, the Commonwealth was up by 0.61 per cent to $69.09, NAB was higher by 1.25 per cent to $19.34 and Westpac gained 1.01 per cent to $18.89.
In US markets earlier, Wall Street finished weaker after investors lost hope that a US fiscal stimulus would be approved before the presidential election on November 3.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.58 per cent to end at 28,514 points, the S&P 500 lost 0.66 per cent to 3,488.67 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.8 per cent to 11,768.73.
The Aussie dollar was buying 71.37 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 71.68 US cents at the close of trade on Wednesday.