3min read
PREVIOUS ARTICLE Consumer confidence hits 14-we... NEXT ARTICLE Australia's deaths low amid gl...

Australia’s share market has shot up early, following US markets’ lead, but eased to be only slightly higher.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index reached a session high of 5995.4 in the first hour of trading but trimmed gains to be better by 10.5 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 5962.8 points at 1200 AEST on Tuesday.

The All Ordinaries index was up by 16 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 6150.9.

The optimism comes after US investors bought sectors hardest-hit by the coronavirus recession, particularly energy and financials.

Democrats and Republicans’ continued efforts to reach a deal on another coronavirus relief bill may also have helped put investors in a buying mood.

All three major US stock indices made solid gains. Technology stocks played a major role.

On the ASX, information technology led gains at 1.68 per cent.

Energy and telecommunications were performing well, both higher by 0.95 per cent.

Financials were up by 0.17 per cent but materials were down 0.27 per cent.

Consumer confidence has risen for a fourth straight week in anticipation of a big-spending federal budget next week.

The weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index – a pointer to future household spending – rose by 1.6 per cent, reaching its highest level in more than three months.

However, the effects of the pandemic were clear at Bank of Queensland.

It expects to book a $175 million expense from bad loans, due mostly to COVID-19, for the full year.

The pre-tax figure will include $133 million attributed to the economic impact of the pandemic.

Shares were lower by 4.09 per cent to $6.09.

Among its major rivals, ANZ was up 0.14 per cent to $17.72, the Commonwealth was lower by 0.06 per cent to $65.45, NAB was down 0.16 per cent to $18.19 and Westpac eased lower by 0.34 per cent to $18.19.

Westpac said the acting chief executive of its institutional bank, Curt Zuber, will retire next year. Joanne Dawson has been named group treasurer.

Big miners were also split in their fortunes. BHP lost 0.48 per cent to $36.95, Rio shed 1.06 per cent to $95.52, while Fortescue gained 0.88 per cent to $16.00.

In the best performing sector, technology, Afterpay rose by 2.48 per cent to $81.78.

Entertainment group Ardent Leisure was up 10.89 per cent to 56 cents after being ordered on Monday to pay a $3.6 million fine for failing to prevent mechanical faults that caused the deaths of four people on a Dreamworld ride in 2016.

The Australian dollar was buying 70.80 US cents at 1200 AEST, up from 70.53 US cents after the close of trade on Monday.