SYDNEY, AAP – Australia’s share market was higher and almost all sectors were up, despite coronavirus lockdowns in Victoria and Auckland.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 56.4 points, or 0.82 per cent, to 6863.1 at 1200 AEDT on Monday.
The index reached a session high of 6877.1 just before 1130 AEDT.
The All Ordinaries was up 60.2 points, or 0.85 per cent, at 7141.5.
Materials was the sector with the biggest improvement, 1.27 per cent, followed by information technology, up 1.19 per cent.
Financials gained 0.87 per cent.
The only sector lower was utilities, down 1.21 per cent.
The bright start to the week from investors follows Wall Street closing higher on Friday.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at record highs as investors bought energy, financial and materials shares in anticipation of fiscal aid from Washington to help the US economy recover.
President Joe Biden turned to a bipartisan group of local officials for support on his $US1.9 ($A2.4) trillion coronavirus relief plan to help millions of unemployed workers and for schools to reopen.
Domestically, Victoria recorded one local coronavirus infection on the third day of its five day lockdown.
The number of active cases in the state is 21, following an outbreak at the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport.
Meanwhile Aucklanders have begun a lockdown, hoping the three-day order stops the spread of the virus.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called for the lockdown after three infections from one family.
Bendigo Bank has reported its first-half cash profit rose 1.9 per cent and company leaders were buoyed by an improving housing market and jobless rate.
The interim dividend was a fully franked 23.5 cents per share, down from the previous fully franked interim payout of 31 cents per share.
Shares were up 8.95 per cent to $10.34.
Among other banks, ANZ was higher by 1.61 per cent to $25.22, the Commonwealth declined 0.39 per cent to $86.53, NAB gained 1.76 per cent to $25.37 while Westpac edged up 1.3 per cent to $22.43.
JB Hi-Fi has posted record interim sales after customers scooped up the retailer’s gadget and entertainment offerings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Total sales soared almost 24 per cent to $4.9 billion in the six months ended December, driven by strong in-store and online growth in the Australian market.
Investors will be rewarded with a spike in the interim dividend payout to $1.80 per share, from 90 cents in the final half of 2019/20.
Shares were higher by 2.59 per cent to $52.21.
Chief executive and managing director of Crown Resorts Ken Barton has stepped down from the company.
Chair Helen Coonan will assume the role of executive chairman while the company searches for a new CEO.
Former NSW Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin, who published a damning report on Crown last week, said regulators could not have confidence in Crown while Mr Barton remained.
Shares were up 0.7 per cent to $9.96.
Coca-Cola’s European business increased its offer for Coca-Cola Amatil of Australia from $12.75 per share to $13.50 per share.
Amatil has recommended shareholders accept the offer.
Shares were higher by 2.05 per cent to $13.40.
The Aussie dollar was buying 77.63 US cents at 1200 AEDT, higher from 77.48 US cents at Friday’s close.