2min read
PREVIOUS ARTICLE US dollar steadies as the Fed ... NEXT ARTICLE Nurses plead for boost to aged...

SYDNEY, AAP – The ASX200 has climbed higher than 6800 points as health and financial shares made important contributions to the index.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 52.6 points, or 0.77 per cent, to 6825.6 at 1200 AEDT on Tuesday.

The All Ordinaries was higher by 53.3 points, or 0.75 per cent, at 7072.4.

The health sector gained 1.83 per cent. CSL rose 1.64 per cent to $260.07.

The financial sector was up 0.59 per cent.

Property was the top sector, higher by 2.06 per cent.

Only the commodity-based sectors, energy and materials, lagged. They each had losses of less than half a per cent due to falls in oil and iron ore prices.

Earlier, the US S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at record highs as investors eyed economic recovery from the coronavirus and awaited cues from the Federal Reserve amid caution over rising borrowing costs.

The US central bank, the Federal Reserve, has a two-day meeting this week and policymakers are expected to forecast that the US economy will grow in 2021 at its fastest rate in decades.

Meanwhile the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.05 per cent to 13,459.71.

In Australia, the Reserve Bank in the minutes of its March 2 board meeting said it does not expect the end of JobKeeper will lead to a sustained increase in the unemployment rate.

“The ongoing recovery in labour market conditions could be broadly sufficient to offset the job losses arising after the end of the JobKeeper program,” the minutes said.

In the interim, payroll jobs rose 0.4 per cent across the fortnight to February 27, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said.

On the ASX, property group Dexus said it would merge its wholesale property fund with AMP Capital’s diversified property fund.

The Dexus wholesale property fund has $10.1 billion worth of retail, office and industrial properties, while the AMP Capital fund has $5 billion in the same types of properties.

Those with financial interests in the funds will vote on the merger next month.

Dexus shares were higher by 2.3 per cent to $9.55.

AMP shares were up 1.2 per cent to $1.47.

Casino and resort giant Crown will no longer make political donations.

The company said it would no longer make “monetary or in-kind political donations, effective immediately”.

Two royal commissions will examine Crown’s operations in Perth and Melbourne.

The inquiries follow a NSW report which found Crown unsuitable to hold the licence for a Sydney casino because it had allowed money laundering through bank accounts held by subsidiaries.

Shares were up 1.34 per cent to $10.14.

BrainChip, an artificial intelligence company which has had its share price surge in the past 12 months, says it has immediately parted with boss Louis DiNardo.

The company, which makes an artificial intelligence processor, said Mr DiNardo was leaving to pursue other interests.

Chief technology officer Peter van der Made has been named interim chief executive.

Shares were down 4.5 per cent to 53 cents.

The miners were mixed. BHP declined by one per cent to $47.40, Fortescue gained 0.49 per cent to $20.48 and Rio Tinto dropped 0.05 per cent to $114.07.

In banking, the big four as well as Bendigo and Macquarie had gains of less than one per cent each.

The Commonwealth was best, higher by 0.9 per cent to $87.18.

The Australian dollar was buying 77.43 US cents at 1200 AEDT, slightly lower from 77.44 US cents at Monday’s close.