BHP and Rio Tinto shares hit record prices and helped the Australian market climb to be 30 points from its record high.

BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals were thriving on the soaring price of iron ore, which continued to climb higher than $US200 per tonne.

BHP shares fetched a record $51.82, then eased to be higher by 3.01 per cent to $51.60 at 1400 AEST.

Rio shares set a record $132.33, then eased to be up by 3.99 per cent to $132.19.

Iron ore specialist Fortescue had not breached its record but was up 7.31 per cent to $24.65.

The miners helped the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index to an earlier high of 7167.2 points, little shy of the record 7197.2.

That record was set in February last year, days before the coronavirus crash began.

The index was on Monday higher by 59.5 points, or 0.84 per cent, to 7140.3 at 1400 AEST.

The All Ordinaries was up 62 points, or 0.84 per cent, to 7387.2 points.

The miners’ surge made materials shares easily the biggest improver, up 2.94 per cent.

Shares in industrials were next best, higher by 0.71 per cent.

The biggest losses were in health shares, 0.15 per cent.

There were also great gains for two gaming companies involved in a merger proposal.

Star Entertainment Group has proposed a merger with Crown that would exchange 2.68 Star shares for each Crown share.

Star is also offering a cash alternative of $12.50 per Crown share, subject to a cap equal to 25 per cent of the target’s shares on issue.

Crown has already had offers from two US investment groups.

Shares in Crown were higher by 7.54 per cent to $13.03.

Star shares were up by 7.03 per cent to $4.18.

Meanwhile oil futures have extended gains after a cyber attack shut down a US pipeline operator that provides nearly half of the US east coast’s fuel supply.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 0.89 per cent to $US65.48 a barrel, while Brent crude rose 0.94 per cent to $US68.92 in Asian trading.

US markets had given a positive lead to the ASX.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 had record closing highs at on Friday after disappointing data on the US jobs market eased concerns about a spike in consumer prices.

Elsewhere on the ASX, Woolworths outlined plans for the demerger of drinks arm Endeavour Group.

Endeavour would become a separate company and trade on the ASX.

Woolworths shareholders will vote on the demerger on June 18.

Shares were higher by 1.9 per cent to $40.17.

In banking, NAB was best of the big four and rose 1.08 per cent to $27.07.

ANZ was the only member lower and dropped 1.18 per cent to $27.42.

The Australian dollar was buying 78.45 US cents at 1400 AEST, higher from 77.67 US cents at Friday’s close.