Australia’s share market has bounced back from a flat start but traders remain cautious about economic recovery amid rising coronavirus cases.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 54.3 points, or 0.92 per cent, at 5952.2 points at 1200 AEST on Wednesday.
The All Ordinaries index was 60.4 points, or 1.01 per cent higher, at 6061.7.
Overnight, US markets rallied as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell backed a coronavirus economic rescue package.
However, the mood remained cautious and Mr Powell reiterated comments that the path of the US economy is “highly uncertain” due to the coronavirus impact, while the top US infectious diseases expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, warned the virus spread “could get very bad”.
In the local market, most sectors had recorded gains by noon.
Property was the best performing sector, up 2.73 per cent, while information technology gained 2.5 per cent.
Utilities and consumer staples were the only negative sectors, down 0.29 per cent and 0.05 per cent respectively.
The big four banks improved throughout early trade.
ANZ was up by 0.91 per cent to $18.81, the Commonwealth Bank dropped 0.1 per cent to $69.48, NAB gained 1.34 per cent to $18.46 and Westpac edged up 1.23 per cent to $18.17.
Suncorp shares fell 0.33 per cent to $9.20 after the insurance and banking major made a raft of executive appointments, and said it will overhaul its operating model, in view of COVID-19.
The big miners were not as buoyant. BHP rose 0.5 per cent to $36.00, Rio lost 0.61 per cent to $97.36 and Fortescue dropped 0.58 per cent to $13.77.
There were better fortunes for gold miners after prices for the precious metal surged to their highest blevl in eight years.
Northern Star was higher by 6.51 per cent to $14.23 and Evolution rose 4.23 per cent to $5.91.
Travel stocks recorded strong gains.
Air New Zealand was higher by 5.26 per cent to $1.30, and Qantas rose 3.44 per cent to $3.91. Flight Centre was higher by 4.77 per cent to $11.65 and rival bookings provider Webjet rose 6.93 per cent to $3.55.
Shares in Temple & Webster were in a trading halt after the online furniture shop said it is raising $40 million through an institutional placement. Shares will sell for $5.70 each, a 9.7 per cent discount on the last closing price of $6.31.
The Australian dollar was higher amid improving risk appetite, buying 69.10 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher from 68.54 US cents at the close of trade on Tuesday.