SYDNEY, AAP – Shares on the ASX have yet to match big gains on Wall Street overnight, although commodity stocks started the day well.
The Australian market was 0.16 per cent higher on Friday and industrials, energy and materials shares fared best.
BHP shares were up 1.73 per cent after the board decided to go ahead with unifying its corporate structure and shares across three stock exchanges.
The oil price was little changed after OPEC nations stuck to plans to boost oil production. The OPEC+ alliance approved producing 400,000 extra barrels per day for the month of January.
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones closed more than one per cent higher overnight after heavy selling earlier in the week. The coronavirus Omicron variant and US Federal Reserve comments about earlier stimulus-tapering have worried investors.
Investor focus will be on US jobs figures to be published in the next 24 hours.
In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 11.6 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 7236.8 points at 1200 AEDT.
The All Ordinaries was higher by 7.7 points, or 0.10 per cent, to 7543.8 points.
Market giant CSL confirmed it was evaluating buying a company overseas.
Media reports have claimed CSL is talking to Vifor Pharma of Switzerland, which makes therapies for iron deficiency.
Shares were down 1.87 per cent to $299.58.
The fall ensured healthcare was the worst-performing category on the market.
Major TPG Telecom shareholder David Teoh is selling about three per cent of company shares.
Mr Teoh founded TPG, which last year merged with Vodafone Australia. He resigned as chairman in March.
Shares were down about five and a half per cent to $6.23.
In banking, NAB was performing best of the major banks and rose almost one per cent to $27.87. Its peers, including Bank of Queensland and Bendigo, were all higher.
Among major miners, Rio Tinto improved one and a half per cent to $95.64. Fortescue slipped 0.23 per cent to $17.21.
APM Human Services is buying physiotherapy and home care group Lifecare for $68 million.
APM is also on track to meet its full-year forecasts after joining the ASX last month.
Shares were up 2.23 per cent to $2.75.
The Australian dollar was buying 70.81 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 70.97 US cents at Thursday’s close.