SYDNEY, AAP – Australian shares have started budget week looking like they may notch an eighth day of gains in the past nine.
The market was higher by almost half a per cent on Monday despite a coronavirus lockdown ordered for the Chinese financial hub of Shanghai.
Shanghai’s Pudong financial district and nearby areas will be locked down to Friday as part of the nation’s strict coronavirus policy.
Meanwhile the federal government says support measures in the budget won’t add to inflation pressures and force the Reserve Bank to lift interest rates earlier.
The federal budget on Tuesday is expected to include a temporary cut in the 44.2 cents per litre fuel excise.
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Petrol prices have soared across the world since Russia began invading Ukraine in late February.
On the ASX, energy shares were fractionally higher after the price of Brent crude oil slipped to $US116.63 per barrel.
Materials shares were doing best and were higher by one per cent.
Market heavyweight BHP rose two per cent to $50.90, while Fortescue and Rio Tinto each improved one per cent.
The other heavyweight category of financials was higher by about half a per cent.
Information technology had the steepest losses and was down two per cent.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 35.4 points, or 0.47 per cent, to 7441.6 at 1200 AEDT on Monday.
The index is less than 200 points from its record of August.
The All Ordinaries index was higher by 31.3 points, or 0.40 per cent, to 7721.2.
In company news, Star Entertainment boss Matt Bekier has resigned following revelations of the failings to prevent criminals exploiting its casinos.
A NSW inquiry into Star’s Sydney casino has been told Mr Bekier was hostile towards consultants who found serious problems in the company’s anti-money laundering controls.
Star was down marginally to $3.22.
CIMIC has recommended shareholders accept a takeover offer.
Engineering and building group Hochtief has gained 85 per cent of CIMIC through an off-market bid and investors have been encouraged to sell the remaining shares for $22 each.
If Hochtief gains 100 per cent control, CIMIC will delist from the ASX.
CIMIC was little changed at $22.00.
The market operator, ASX, revealed the upgrade of its software used to manage share trading is likely to be delayed.
The replacement of the clearing house electronic subregister system (CHESS) is likely to happen next year.
The market operator was little changed at $80.17.
Carsales.com has had the managing director of its Australian business resign.
Ajay Bhatia will leave in April to head a European online business, with Carsales’ boss of international operations Paul Barlow to assume the role.
Carsales was down one per cent to $20.23.
The big banks were all higher. NAB was best and gained one per cent to $32.06.
The Australian dollar was buying 75.06 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 75.19 US cents at Friday’s close.