SYDNEY, AAP – Big mining companies were helping shares higher after two days of lockdown woe on the Australian market.
Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto gained more than two per cent despite iron ore prices being lower.
The biggest miner, BHP, was also higher and rose 1.72 per cent to $48.89.
Materials shares were higher by 1.43 per cent after closing lower on Tuesday by 0.68 per cent.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Wednesday was up by 37.8 points, or 0.51 per cent, to 7339 at 1200 AEST.
The All Ordinaries was higher by 42.6 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 7608.1.
US markets may have helped after the Nasdaq closed at a record high.
US consumer confidence increased in June to its highest level since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Dow Jones and S&P 500 were little changed.
Meanwhile in Australia the last day of the financial year may be prompting fund managers to reshuffle stocks in portfolios.
Many will be doing so from home as coronavirus lockdowns continue across the nation.
NSW leaders, overseeing a two-week lockdown for Sydney and surrounds, are hopeful infection numbers will drop after reporting 22 cases on Wednesday.
Australians continue to seize on low interest rates as the amount of outstanding home loans grew by the fastest monthly pace in four years.
New figures from the Reserve Bank of Australia showed housing credit grew by 0.6 per cent in May, the largest rise since June 2017.
On the ASX, data analytics provider Nuix revealed corporate watchdog ASIC is investigating former chief financial officer Stephen Doyle and family members.
ASIC is also investigating how the company’s initial public offer last year was conducted.
Nuix has been rocked by allegations of poor governance since listing.
Shares were down 13.58 per cent to $2.19.
Telstra has sold just under half its mobile towers business to a high-powered consortium, including Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, for almost $3 billion.
The deal with the Future Fund, and retirement funds Commonwealth Superannuation Corp and Sunsuper, is for 49 per cent of InfraCo Towers.
The latter is Australia’s largest mobile infrastructure business and has 8200 towers.
Shareholders will also be winners. About 50 per cent of the $2.8 billion proceeds to be returned via a possible share buyback.
Shares were up 4.16 per cent to $3.75.
Telecommunications shares were best on the market and higher by 2.55 per cent.
Energy provider AGL confirmed it will demerge its coal-fired power stations business and cleaner energy operations.
AGL will become Accel Energy and try and redevelop the coal and gas-fired power stations for battery power.
AGL Australia will offer consumers electricity, gas, internet and mobile services.
Shares were down 6.8 per cent to $8.49.
The big banks were mixed.
NAB was best of the big four and higher by 0.45 per cent to $26.23.
The Australian dollar was buying 75.17 US cents at 1200 AEST, lower from 75.63 US cents at Tuesday’s close.