SYDNEY, AAP – Shares edged higher and were close to record heights on the Australian market as investors waited for RBA decisions on long-term interest rates.
Energy stocks soared by 2.12 per cent after OPEC and allies called off talks which might have increased oil supply.
There were gains of more than three per cent for Oil Search and Beach.
Materials shares, up 0.88 per cent, were playing a major role in keeping the ASX higher.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 10.7 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 7325.7 at 1200 AEST on Tuesday.
The All Ordinaries was higher by 11.4 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 7600.4.
Investors looked to European stocks for their lead, which closed higher after signs of stronger than expected growth in the eurozone private sector.
A survey showing business activity in the eurozone hit a 15-year high in June lifted sentiment.
Wall Street was closed for the Independence Day holiday.
Meanwhile the economic impact of Australia’s battle with the pandemic will form part of the Reserve Bank’s considerations at its monthly board meeting.
The central bank is not tipped to change the cash rate from the record low of 0.1 per cent.
However board members are due to make decisions which will affect long-term rates.
These decisions will focus on the three-year bond yield target and bond buying program.
The outcome of the meeting is due at 1430 AEST, and may also affect the Australian dollar.
Elsewhere in Australia, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she will reveal tomorrow whether the two-week coronavirus lockdown for Sydney and surrounds will be extended.
There were 18 new infections reported earlier today.
On the ASX, Westpac will sell its New Zealand life insurance business and said the sale will simplify the bank.
Westpac will sell the operations for $A373 million to insurer Fidelity Life Assurance Company.
The Kiwi company will sell life insurance products to Westpac New Zealand customers as part of a 15-year deal.
Shares in the bank were up 0.47 per cent to $25.65.
Its peers in the big four were all higher by less than half a per cent.
Ramsay Health Care has increased its offer to buy the UK’s Spire Healthcare.
Ramsay has offered $A1.9 billion for all shares of the London Stock Exchange-listed provider.
Boss Craig McNally said the offer was final.
Shares were up 1.22 per cent to $63.84.
However healthcare shares were one of the worst performers and lost 0.72 per cent.
Market giant CSL slipped 0.69 per cent to $280.05.
The big miners were all better. BHP was best of the big three and gained 1.38 per cent to $49.12.
The Australian dollar was buying 75.50 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher from 75.17 US cents at Monday’s close.