SYDNEY, AAP – Iron ore miners were surging on the ASX after China’s central bank cut lending requirements for banks.

Market giant BHP was up 3.33 per cent to $51.13 and just shy of its record price, $51.82.

Iron ore specialist Fortescue Metals was higher by 2.22 per cent to $24.40.

Rio Tinto gained 1.96 per cent to $127.87.

China’s central bank made its decision as its economic rebound from the pandemic has recently started to falter.

China is a huge consumer of iron ore and vital to mining profits.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 54.2 points, or 0.74 per cent, to 7327.5 at 1200 AEST.

The All Ordinaries was higher by 53.5 points, or 0.70 per cent, to 7598.8.

Property shares were faring well and higher by 0.91 per cent.

Financials were next best and rose 0.63 per cent.

US markets closed at record highs on Friday although bond yields recovered from recent slumps.

The S&P 500 index rose to an all-time high for the second time in a week.

Investors are this week focusing on company earnings, starting with major banks.

They will be particularly interested in forecasts about the second half of 2021 as some worry the recent economic surge is waning.

In Australia, Wesfarmers wants to buy Australian Pharmaceutical Industries and has made a $687 million offer to purchase the remaining shares.

Wesfarmers boss Rob Scott said buying the Priceline Pharmacy owner would form the basis of a new healthcare division.

The suitor, which owns the Bunnings and OfficeWorks stores, offered $1.38 for each share it does not own.

API shares were higher by 18.99 per cent to $1.36.

Wesfarmers shares were up 0.12 per cent to $58.07.

Stockbroker and investment adviser Bell Financial Group said first-half earnings were likely to be higher by three per cent on the previous corresponding period.

Investing in technology offset better sales and resulted in a profit before tax of $24 million.

Shares were down 3.95 per cent to $1.70.

Mining services provider NRW Holdings jumped 8.57 per cent to $1.67 after selling mining equipment for $81 million.

Boggabri Coal Operations is buying the equipment from NRW subsidiary Golding Contractors.

NRW will use most of the money to reduce debt.

Elsewhere, the big four banks were all higher by less than one per cent.

Bendigo Bank had a gain of two per cent to $10.41.

Market giant CSL was up 0.84 per cent to $277.80.

Healthcare shares were higher by 0.34 per cent.

Shares in utilities fared worst and were lower by 0.3 per cent.

The Australian dollar was buying 74.72 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher from 74.25 US cents at Friday’s close.