SYDNEY, AAP – A broad-based rally has continued a fine start to February for the ASX after Wall Street overcame fears about rising interest rates.
The Australian market was 1.2 per cent higher on Wednesday, a day after the Reserve Bank in its first policy statement of the year downplayed the idea of looming rate rises.
Governor Philip Lowe was set to elaborate on the bank’s position at a National Press Club address.
Energy and materials shares led the positivity on the ASX. Each category was two per cent higher.
Energy prices are being raised by the stand-off between major provider Russia and Western nations in Ukraine.
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Russia has gathered troops on the Ukraine border, prompting fears of an invasion. US and European leaders are calling for Russia to back down.
Brent crude oil last traded for $US89.16 per barrel.
After energy and materials shares, the next best category on the ASX was consumer discretionaries. It rose one per cent.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 84.5 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 7090.5 points at 1200 AEDT.
The All Ordinaries index was higher by 88.5 points, or 1.21 per cent, to 7401.3 points.
The US momentum was helped by plenty of companies providing better than expected earnings.
Google parent Alphabet rose 1.7 per cent before its quarterly results were published after the bell. Amazon and Meta Platforms are due to give reports this week.
In ASX news, Telstra declared it will spend up to $1.6 billion on two projects over the next five years.
The telco will build and manage the fibre network for global communications provider Viasat.
Telstra will also rollout 20,000km of fibre network between cities for its own network.
The spending is projected to provide a $200 million earnings contribution by 2026.
Telstra was one per cent higher to $3.98.
Genworth Mortgage Insurance was a popular stock after low numbers of claims in its fourth quarter.
There were low numbers of paid claims and mortgages in possession.
Genworth, which last week retained a valuable contract with the Commonwealth Bank, was higher by six per cent to $2.63.
Rio Tinto company Energy Resources Australia revealed the cost to rehabilitate the former Ranger uranium mine had doubled.
The cost estimate of restoring the Northern Territory site increased from $973 million to a range of $1.6 billion to $2.2 billion.
However, higher iron ore prices helped Rio Tinto rise two per cent to $112.00.
Energy Resources Australia was up six per cent to 34 cents.
Among other iron ore giants, BHP rose two per cent to $45.90. Fortescue improved by almost four per cent to $20.51.
In banking, the big four banks were all higher by less than one per cent each.
The dollar was buying 71.40 US cents at 1200 AEDT, higher from 70.63 US cents at Tuesday’s close.