SYDNEY, AAP – Mining shares have helped the ASX to rise and move within 100 points of its records despite poor showings from overseas markets.
The market was higher by 0.36 per cent on Thursday and has had seven consecutive days of gains.
BHP, Fortescue and Rio Tinto were keeping the market up despite US markets closing lower after Russian forces seemed to contradict vows to leave parts of Ukraine.
Market heavyweight BHP was up two per cent to $51.92. The shares are less than $3 from their record price.
Fortescue gained four per cent to $20.62 a day after a green hydrogen deal with a European energy operator.
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Rio Tinto was up one per cent to $119.02.
Meanwhile oil prices dropped on news the US Biden administration is considering releasing some one million barrels of oil per day from strategic reserves to lower soaring prices.
Commodity prices have surged since Russia invaded Ukraine last month.
The Brent crude oil price was down three per cent to $US109.52 per barrel.
ASX energy shares were down less than one per cent.
Technology shares had the steepest falls on the local market and were down one per cent. This follows gains of seven per cent the past two days.
Afterpay owner Block and financial software vendor Xero each lost three per cent.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 27.1 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 7541.6 at 1200 AEDT.
The index was fewer than 100 points from its record of August.
The All Ordinaries index was higher by 29.6 points, or 0.37 per cent, to 7829.5.
In company news, uranium miner Paladin Energy will raise $200 milion from a share sale to restart its Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia.
Paladin stopped operations at the mine in 2018 due to low uranium prices but said the market had improved.
The miner will sell shares for 72 cents each, an 8.9 per cent discount on the closing price.
Paladin had paused trading shares. They last traded for 79 cents.
Air New Zealand shares resumed trading after revealing a more than $2 billion recapitalisation plan.
The airline is selling NZ$1.2 billion in shares to investors, NZ$600 million in shares to the New Zealand government and has received a NZ$400 million loan from the government.
Air New Zealand was down almost nine per cent to $1.16.
The big banks were mostly lower. NAB was best of the big four and rose less than half a per cent to $32.44.
The Australian dollar was buying 75.11 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 75.25 US cents at Wednesday’s close.