SYDNEY, AAP – Banks have led the Australian share market higher despite US markets mostly closing lower from a technology fire-sale.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was up 59.6 points, or 0.88 per cent, to 6799.2 at 1200 AEDT on Tuesday.
The All Ordinaries was higher by 51.5 points, or 0.73 per cent, at 7023.1.
The financial sector was higher by 1.74 per cent.
There were gains of more than one per cent for utilities, consumer discretionaries, health and industrials.
The only sector lower was information technology, which fell 4.56 per cent.
In the US, a big downturn in the technology-based Nasdaq offset stocks that rose on hopes the $US1.9 ($A2.5) trillion COVID-19 relief bill will spur economic recovery.
The Dow Jones hit a record intra-day high but the big tech stocks that have led Wall Street to scale successive peaks over the past year fell.
The prospect of a growing US economy has stoked fears of an inflation spike, sending the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield to near one-year highs and weighing on technology shares that rely on cheap funding for growth.
The Dow Jones rose 306.14 points, or 0.97 per cent, to 31,802.44. The S&P 500 lost 20.59 points, or 0.54 per cent, to 3,821.35 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 310.99 points, or 2.41 per cent, to 12,609.16.
In Australia, business confidence has soared to its highest in more than a decade amid signs of a continuing robust recovery from last year’s recession, despite tapering of government support.
The National Australia Bank business survey showed confidence rose further in February to its highest since 2010, while conditions also returned to multi-year highs after dipping the previous month.
All states, territories and industries recorded increases, except retail.
On the ASX, Afterpay crashed by 9.62 per cent to $100.50 following the US technology declines.
Accounting software provider Xero lost 6.12 per cent to $105.70.
Fibre network provider Vocus was surging after board members recommended shareholders accept a takeover offer from a consortium including Macquarie Group.
Macquarie and Aware Super want to buy all Vocus shares for $5.50 per share.
Shareholders are expected to vote in June. Court approval is also required.
Vocus shares were higher by 8.6 per cent to $5.43.
Banks were benefiting from expectations of higher costs of borrowing.
The Commonwealth Bank was the only member of the big four not to rise by more than two per cent.
The Commonwealth gained 1.35 per cent to $88.50.
The big miners were mixed. Rio Tinto climbed 1.68 per cent to $123.14, while BHP and Fortescue gained less than half a per cent.
AVZ Minerals was a notable improver after it said it had signed a supply deal with battery materials producer Shenzhen Chengxin Lithium Group.
AVZ will supply up to 180,000 tonnes annually of spodumene concentrate (SC6) from its Manono lithium project in the Congo.
Shares were higher by five per cent to 21 cents.
Energy provider Senex said it signed another gas deal with power generator CleanCo Queensland.
The one year deal will see Senex provide gas to the Queensland government-owned corporation’s gas-fired power station, which helps provide electricity.
Senex will provide 2.55 petajoules of gas from January 1. The company will provide 5.1 petajoules of gas to CleanCo from 2020 to 2022.
Shares were lower by 1.29 per cent to 38 cents.
The Australian dollar was buying 76.35 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 77.01 US cents at Monday’s close.