SYDNEY, AAP – Australia’s share market has started the week how it left the past one and was broadly higher early.

Banks were leading the push higher on Monday as bond yields rose on investor expectations of higher rates. The Australian 10-year bond yield was at 1.64 per cent earlier.

Energy companies were next best as demand improves after the peak of the pandemic. Brent crude oil was trading at $US85.36 per barrel at 1200 AEDT.

The only categories lower were healthcare, information technology and telecommunications. All had minor falls.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was higher by 29.3 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 7391.3.

The All Ordinaries was up 29.3 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 7703.5.

Shares had a good lead from the US trade on Friday. Investors were encouraged by banks’ third-quarter earnings.

More banks will report earnings on Wall Street this week.

Meanwhile in Australia, NSW has further loosened coronavirus restrictions while Victoria is set to relax rules from Friday.

More freedom should produce more consumer activity, particularly for ASX companies in travel, hospitality and real estate.

In company news, poker machine maker Aristocrat Leisure has pitched a $5 billion offer for gambling software vendor Playtech.

The offer had a premium of about 50 per cent on Playtech’s last closing price on the London Stock Exchange.

Aristocrat will sell $1.3 billion in shares to help fund the deal.

Shares last traded for $45.79 before they were paused.

Senex Energy shares surged after a takeover offer.

Oil and gas explorer POSCO International has raised previous offers for Senex to $4.40 per share.

The two companies are talking about a higher offer.

Shares were up 14.65 per cent to $4.38.

Lithium miner Vulcan Energy has signed an offtake agreement with European cathode maker Umicore.

Umicore will buy up to 42,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide over five years.

Vulcan shares were up almost seven per cent to $12.49.

In banking, ANZ and the Commonwealth were more than one per cent higher. NAB and Westpac improved by less than one per cent.

Among the big miners, Rio Tinto was best and rose 1.2 per cent to $100.80. BHP and Fortescue improved by less than one per cent.

Shares in property group Irongate improved after a takeover offer.

Investment group 360 Capital has offered $1.65 per stapled security.

Irongate was up 3.66 per cent to $1.55.

The Australian dollar was buying 74.10 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 74.25 US cents at Friday’s close.