Shares have been trading more than 1.0 per cent higher on the Australian and investors have not lost confidence despite Victoria having its second-worst day for new virus cases.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 67.2 points, or 1.12 per cent, at 6068.8 points at 1200 AEST on Tuesday.

The All Ordinaries index was 71.4 points, or 1.17 per cent higher, at 6183.7.

The good start comes after a positive lead from US markets, which were buoyed by promising news of coronavirus vaccines.

Investors retained that confidence despite Victoria recording 374 new virus cases, the 16th consecutive day of a triple-digit increase.

NSW, the only other state or territory with current clusters, reported 13 cases.

Information technology was booming on the ASX, higher by 5.22 per cent.

Afterpay was higher by 7.51 per cent to $74.71. Its record high is $76.62.

Fellow buy now, pay later provider Sezzle was also booming, higher by 12.25 per cent to $7.24.

The technology gains come after stocks on the Nasdaq surged overnight.

Online shopping business Kogan was down 1.85 per cent to $17.02, having had been higher by more than 2.0 per cent. Management reported fourth-quarter profit rose by 115 per cent. The profit figure is still to be revealed.

Health shares were doing very well, up by 2.79 per cent. CSL gained 2.94 per cent to $291.01.

Elsewhere BHP has posted a 7.0 per cent rise in fourth-quarter iron ore output but warned a rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic threatens short-term demand. Shares in the miner were steady at $38.38.

Among its big rivals, Rio lost 0.02 per cent to $105.09 and Fortescue rose 1.91 per cent to $16.57.

There was plenty of news in the energy sector. Oil Search has reported a near 30 per cent drop in second-quarter revenue, hurt by a sharp decline in oil and gas prices as demand plunged due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, investors did not mind and the share price rose 1.99 per cent to $3.07.

Santos said it would book non-cash impairments of up to $US800 million ($A1.1 billion), joining those energy majors forced to write down assets after a coronavirus-induced slump in oil prices.

Its shares gained 1.26 per cent to $5.22.

Drug test results from AstraZeneca, CanSino Biologics, and a partnership between Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech gave hope to US markets that the pandemic could eventually come to an end.

The drug results come after United States’ deaths from the virus passed the 140,000 mark at the weekend and cases continued to rise in 42 of 50 states.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.03 per cent to 26,680.87, the S&P 500 gained 0.84 per cent to 3,251.84 and the Nasdaq Composite added 2.51 per cent, to 10,767.09.

The Australian dollar was trading at 70.24 US cents at 1200 AEST, up from 69.88 US cents at Monday’s close.