SYDNEY, AAP – Sydney Airport’s sale and BHP exiting a Queensland coal mine have given investors plenty to watch at the start of the week on the ASX.

The deals were revealed on Monday before trading began and provided interest to otherwise stagnant indices.

Sydney Airport has accepted a $23.6 billion takeover bid from a consortium of investors.

The decision ends a four-month tussle over price between the operator and Sydney Aviation Alliance – which includes superannuation funds QSuper and Australia Super.

Shares in the airport were up 2.73 per cent to $8.45.

Market giant BHP has sold its metallurgical coal joint venture in Queensland.

The miner is selling its 80 per cent stake in BHP Mitsui Coal for about $US1.1 billion to Stanmore Resources.

BHP said it would produce higher quality coal which produces less carbon.

BHP shares were up 1.44 per cent to $36.61.

Stanmore shares were better by more than 17 per cent to $1.22.

The strongest parts of the market were energy and industrials shares.

Oil prices have firmed after OPEC+ producers rebuffed a US call for more supply as demand nears pre-pandemic levels.

The price of Brent crude was $US83.13 a barrel at 1200 AEDT.

Beach Energy gained more than three per cent. Oil Search, Santos and Woodside improved by more than two per cent each.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was lower by 9.8 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 7447.1.

The All Ordinaries was down 15.4 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 7761.8.

Meanwhile job advertising has jumped to a 13-year high in Australia.

Demand for workers was high in NSW, Victoria and the ACT as people emerge from coronavirus lockdowns.

Elsewhere on the market, Wesfarmers and Australian Pharmaceutical Industries entered into a merger deal after Sigma Healthcare called off its bid on Friday.

Wesfarmers recently took a 19.3 per cent stake in the Priceline Pharmacy owner and will pay $1.55 each for the remaining shares.

Wesfarmers boss Rob Scott said the purchase will help the company enter the health, wellbeing and beauty industry.

Wesfarmers shares were down almost one per cent to $59.75.

API shares were up 3.36 per cent to $1.53.

In banking, ANZ traded ex-dividend and lost 2.11 per cent. Westpac gained 1.15 per cent. The Commonwealth and NAB were little changed.

Fertiliser and chemicals producer Incitec Pivot will stop manufacturing at its Gibson Island plant in Queensland by the end of next year.

Gas costs have made the plant unviable although Incitec Pivot is exploring producing green ammonia at the same site.

The costs of the closure and write-downs will be about $186 million. Land sales may generate about $45 million.

Shares were down 1.26 per cent to $3.11.

The Australian dollar was buying 73.94 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 74.41 cents at Friday’s close.