The Australian share market has turned positive, in line with broader gains across the Asia Pacific, as investors shrug off caution amid hopes of economic recovery.
Investors have switched from early selling and were accumulating positions after the first two hours of trading.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 39.1 points, or 0.68 per cent, at 5794.8 points at 1200 AEST on Monday after being down almost half-a-per cent earlier.
The All Ordinaries index was 40.1 points, or 0.68 per cent higher, at 5912.3.
The early selling came after the ASX finished May up 4.2 per cent, but optimism soon re-emerged over prospects of economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Bank stocks had losses of about 1.0 per cent early, but have recovered and pushed the financial sector 0.76 per cent higher since.
ANZ gained 1.68 per cent to $18.19, the Commonwealth was up 0.53 per cent to $64.09, NAB edged higher by 1.68 per cent to $18.11 and Westpac increased 1.16 per cent to $17.42.
Health and materials were the best performing sectors, higher by 2.06 and 1.65 per cent respectively.
Biotechnology giant CSL was up 3.36 per cent to $285.50. The big miners, BHP, Fortescue and Rio Tinto, all gained by more than 2.0 per cent. Qantas shares were trading 0.5 per cent higher to $4.01 despite Australia’s competition watchdog saying it will continue an investigation into Qantas buying a stake in regional competitor Alliance Aviation. Alliance shares were unchanged at $2.61 each. Retail property group Vicinity Centres is raising $1.4 billion through a share sale to provide a buffer against the uncertainty caused by COVID-19. Vicinity will issue securities at $1.48 each, an 8.1 per cent discount to Friday’s closing price of $1.61. Its shares are in a trading halt. Elsewhere, gaming group Star Entertainment was trading higher by 3.73 per cent to $3.06 after entering into a new 20-year agreement on gaming taxes with the NSW government, comprising flat rates of tax as a percentage of revenue. It is also reopening private gaming rooms and up to 12 food and beverage venues at its Star casino in Sydney on Monday. Overall, coronavirus restrictions are easing further in states across the nation today. Restaurants, pubs and clubs are allowed more customers at their venues in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria, and intra-state travel is allowed. The main local economic events scheduled this week include the Reserve Bank of Australia board meeting on Tuesday and the release of GDP figures for the March quarter on Wednesday. While the RBA will meet to consider the cash rate, economists do not expect any change to the official rate. The big question, however, will be whether Australia can avoid a technical recession by recording a small increase in GDP the following day. The strong positive sentiment helped lift the Australian dollar to its highest level since February. One Australian dollar was buying 67.26 US cents at 1200 AEST, up from 66.55 US cents at the close of trade on Friday.