SYDNEY, AAP – The Australian share market is firmly higher in its first trading session for the year as investors looked past surging local coronavirus cases and instead focused on strong gains on Wall Street.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 95.9 points, or 1.29 per cent, to 7540.5 points at 1200 AEDT on Tuesday.
The All Ordinaries index rose 97.9 points, or 1.26 per cent, to 7877.1 points.
The gains came after a strong cue from Wall Street overnight, with all three major US indices ending firmly in the green thanks to solid gains in shares of technology giant Apple and electric car maker Tesla.
That helped investors brush aside concerns about rising hospitalisations amid a surge in local Omicron cases across major states.
NSW reported 23,131 new cases, setting records for COVID-19 hospitalisations and daily caseloads. Victoria posted 14,020 new positive infections, while Queensland had 5,699 cases.
Energy, mining and healthcare were the strongest sectors in the local market.
Energy stocks rose after crude oil prices climbed further. Woodside and Santos were up 2.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent respectively, while Whitehaven Coal gained more than 6 per cent to $2.77 after key supplier Indonesia imposed a coal export ban.
Miners also advanced, with iron ore exporters BHP and Fortescue Metals climbing more than 2.0 per cent each. Base metals producers such as IGO, South32 and Alumina rose 2.5-3.5 per cent.
Among healthcare majors, protective clothing maker Ansell and hearing implant maker Cochlear led the gains, rising 4 per cent and 2.6 per cent each, while biotech giant CSL was also up nearly 1 per cent.
The positive momentum was underlined by gains in the heavyweight financial stocks. Each of the Big Four banks as well as Macquarie Group were trading more than 1 per cent higher.
Among the prominent stocks bucking the trend, supermarket giants Coles was down 0.2 per cent at $17.90, while smaller rival Metcash slipped 1 per cent to $4.45.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has slipped. It was buying 71.98 US cents at 1200 AEDT, compared to 72.56 US cents at Friday’s close.