SYDNEY, AAP – A strong showing by miners was helping the Australian share market a little higher on the first trading day of the month.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was up 16.5 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 6807.2 at 1200 AEDT on Thursday.
The All Ordinaries was higher by 22.9 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 7039.9.
The materials sector, which includes miners, was up 1.24 per cent and added most points to the indices.
The strongest sector was the smaller information technology one, which was higher by 1.31 per cent.
Financials and energy had losses of less than 0.1 per cent.
US futures were trading higher marginally higher after President Joe Biden announced a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure investment plan.
Mr Biden’s $US2 trillion ($A2.6 trillion) plan to create more affordable housing, rebuild roads, bridges and railways and encourage electric vehicles faces challenges in the US Congress, where Democrats hold a slim majority.
Earlier, US markets closed mostly higher as investors positioned themselves for the infrastructure plan.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 85.41 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 32,981.55, the S&P 500 gained 14.34 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 3,972.89 and the Nasdaq Composite added 201.48 points, or 1.54 per cent, to 13,246.87.
In Australia, house prices have made the biggest monthly increase in 32 years, rising 2.8 per cent in March, for an annual pace of 6.2 per cent.
The rise in the national CoreLogic home value index was led by a 3.7 per cent increase in Sydney.
Meanwhile, Brisbane’s three-day coronavirus lockdown is ending on Thursday after only one new infection.
In corporate news, the boss of wealth manager AMP will “retire” from the top job and be replaced by an ANZ executive.
Francesco De Ferrari “will retire from the roles as the company completes its portfolio review”, the group said in a statement.
He has just months left at AMP before ANZ deputy CEO Alexis George takes the CEO spot in the third quarter of this year.
Shares in AMP were higher by 5.33 per cent to $1.33.
ANZ shares were unchanged at $28.18.
The other banks in the big four were each lower by less than half a per cent.
Macquarie Group has fallen foul of regulator APRA, which found Macquarie Bank did not properly manage risk and did not meet liquidity reporting standards.
APRA has increased the bank’s liquidity and operational risk requirements in response.
Macquarie said the breaches were historical and did not affect capital or liquidity positions.
Shares were down 1.02 per cent to $151.36.
Explosives provider Orica confirmed interim chief executive Sanjeev Gandhi would take the top role permanently.
Mr Gandhi will receive annual pay of $1.7 million, and be eligible for bonuses.
He replaces Alberto Calderon, who was in the job for almost six years.
In mining, Rio Tinto easily outstripped the gains of BHP and Fortescue. Rio was up 1.78 per cent to $112.73.
BlueScope Steel increased by 3.28 per cent to $19.98.
The Australian dollar was buying 75.93 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 75.99 US cents at Wednesday’s close.