SYDNEY, AAP – Australia’s share market was higher as strong commodity prices continued to help the energy and materials sectors.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 63.3 points, or 0.93 per cent, to 6841.1 at 1200 AEDT on Thursday.

The All Ordinaries was higher by 62.4 points, or 0.88 per cent, at 7111.8.

Energy was up 2.43 per cent after oil prices rose to 13-month highs. Refineries in the US have come back online after freezing temperatures disrupted production last week.

The major materials sector was up 1.5 per cent after copper prices rose to nine-year highs.

There were gains of more than one per cent for health, property and utilities.

All sectors bar industrials were higher after shares on Wall Street closed higher.

US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s comments the previous day that the central bank was not about to change policy settings calmed inflation worries.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 424.51 points, or 1.35 per cent, to 31,961.86, the S&P 500 gained 44.06 points, or 1.14 per cent, to 3,925.43 and the Nasdaq Composite added 132.77 points, or 0.99 per cent, to 13,597.97.

Back on the domestic front, the Aussie dollar reached 79.78 US cents just before 1100 AEDT.

Analysts say rising commodity prices, and rising yields for the Aussie 10-year bond are helping the dollar.

In good news for the local economy, Queensland will reopen to Melbourne residents from Saturday after the city contained a coronavirus scare earlier this month.

On the ASX, Afterpay is raising money to increase its stake in its US operations on the same day it posted a first-half loss.

The buy now, pay later provider said it would raise up to $1.5 billion so it can increase its stake in Afterpay US from 80 per cent to about 93 per cent.

Its first half net loss after tax was $79.2 million.

Shares were in a trading halt and last traded at $134.36.

A chief rival, Zip, posted a first-half loss before tax of $453.8 million

The company talked up the benefits of completing the purchase of US provider Quadpay last year.

Revenue rose 130 per cent to $160 million.

Shares fell 8.51 per cent to $10.85.

Qantas suffered a billion dollar-plus loss in profits in the first half of its trading year, dogged by travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The group’s statutory loss before tax was $1.47 billion.

Shares were up 3.69 per cent to $5.19.

Big miners were riding the boom in metals prices. BHP jumped 3.04 per cent to $50.35, Fortescue gained 1.59 per cent to $24.87 and Rio Tinto climbed 1.44 per cent to $12.82.

In banking, ANZ was even at $26.63, the Commonwealth was higher by 1.08 per cent to $83.68, NAB leapt 1.16 per cent to $25.19 and Westpac rose 1.01 per cent to $24.29.

The dollar was buying 79.11 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 79.11 US cents at Wednesday’s close.