SYDNEY, AAP – A fourth consecutive day higher for the Australian share market has the indices almost 300 points shy of the record set last year.
The market was higher by 0.41 per cent to start the week as investors hoped for a peace deal in the Russia-Ukraine war that is keeping commodity prices elevated.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he was ready to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin. However Ukraine will not surrender the heavily bombed city of Mariupol to the invaders.
The Australian dollar was higher and buying 74 US cents following the recent gains in commodity prices.
Financial analysts have tipped the Reserve Bank to raise rates this year after the US Federal Reserve did so last week for the first time since 2018.
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On the ASX, technology shares were best and rose three per cent.
Afterpay owner Block was up nine per cent to $183.96.
The next best category was consumer discretionary shares. It rose one per cent.
The heavyweight categories of financials and materials were each higher by less than one per cent.
The worst performing category was industrials. It dropped half a per cent.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 30.1 points, or 0.41 per cent, to 7324.5 points at 1200 AEDT.
The index is a little more than 300 points from its record high in August last year.
The All Ordinaries index was higher by 34.1 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 7605.3 points.
In company news, logistics group Qube will run a $400 million off-market share buyback.
The company will buy shares for $1.61 each plus a dividend before the end of May.
The move follows Qube’s sale of the Moorebank Logistics Park.
Qube was up one per cent to $3.05.
Wesfarmers had its proposed takeover of Australian Pharmaceutical Industries approved by the Federal Court.
The Bunnings owner’s $753 million takeover bid for the Priceline pharmacy operator would pay investors $1.53 per share.
Wesfarmers was up one per cent to $51.12.
Australian Pharmaceutical Industries was little changed at $1.52.
Financial software provider Link Group has revealed an offer for its banking and credit business has not progressed to a sale.
LC Financial Holdings in February made the offer.
Meanwhile Dye & Durham Corporation remains on track to buy Link by July for $2.9 billion.
Link was up one per cent to $5.16.
Fund manager Magellan has had previous chairman Hamish Douglass resign from the board.
His departure was for medical reasons.
The company is searching for a replacement independent director.
Magellan was down one per cent to $15.48.
There were modest moves among the banks. ANZ was best and gained half a per cent to $27.73.
The big miners were all higher. Fortescue was up two per cent to $18.99. The smaller BlueScope and South32 were each higher by two per cent as well.
The Australian dollar was buying 74.17 US cents at 1200 AEDT, higher from 73.82 US cents at Friday’s close.