SYDNEY, AAP – Australian shares were having one of their best days in weeks as investors seized on prices lowered last week from the outbreak of fighting in Ukraine.
Technology shares were up five per cent on Tuesday and the market was more than one per cent higher despite a mixed lead from the US overnight.
Afterpay owner Block was responsible for much of the technology performance. It was up 13 per cent to $175.96 after reporting better fourth quarter earnings last week.
There were gains of one per cent for shares in energy, industrials, consumer discretionaries, health care, financials and telecommunications.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 89.1 points, or 1.26 per cent, to 7138.2 points at 1200 AEDT.
The All Ordinaries index rose 95.7 points, or 1.30 per cent, to 7418.9 points.
A Reserve Bank rates decision at 1430 AEDT could briefly sway investors’ attention from the war in Ukraine.
While the bank is not expected to change the record low rate of 0.1 per cent, its commentary on the hostilities in eastern Europe and any effect on inflation may prove interesting.
Oil prices scaled more than $US100 per barrel last week after Western nations imposed sanctions on Russia, a major oil supplier. Brent crude last traded for $US97.90 per barrel.
More sanctions imposed this week, including stopping Russian banks accessing global payments, contributed to some declines on US markets.
In ASX news, the Commonwealth Bank is selling most of its stake in a Chinese bank as the former focuses on Australia.
The Commonwealth Bank is selling a 10 per cent stake in Bank of Hangzhou to a Chinese group for $1.8 billion.
The Australian bank will retain a shareholding of about five per cent.
Commonwealth Bank shares were up two per cent to $95.57.
Its peers in the big four, as well as Bendigo, each rose one per cent.
Crown’s Melbourne and Perth casinos are being taken to court by Australia’s financial intelligence agency over alleged breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.
AUSTRAC served the two operations with a statement of claim and commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court, following an investigation that began in October 2020.
Crown was down less than one per cent to $12.29.
Buy now, pay later providers Sezzle and Zip were lower after news of their $491 million merger a day earlier.
Zip sold shares to fund its purchase of Sezzle and investors have since rated them less.
Zip was down eight per cent to $2.03.
Sezzle was down one per cent to $1.74.
In mining, the big players were mixed. BHP rose by less than one per cent to $46.95. Fortescue and Rio Tinto each dropped less than one per cent.
Diversified miner IGO had strong gains despite not being able to sell its CSA Copper Mine to Glencore.
The two miners had been talking since February but were unable to agree on terms.
IGO was up six per cent to $11.68.
The Australian dollar was buying 72.53 US cents at 1200 AEDT, more than the 71.85 US cents at Monday’s close.