SYDNEY, AAP – Australia’s share market had climbed to its highest level since mid-January as investors feel more comfortable with a rising interest rate environment.

A good lead from US markets helped the ASX200 rise to 7480.9 points in the first two hours of trading on federal budget day.

The market was last at this level just before it dropped on fears the US Federal Reserve would raise rates, which it did this month.

The ASX200 was up 0.81 per cent and on course for a sixth consecutive day of gains.

ASX technology shares were up three per cent after electric car maker Tesla helped sentiment for the category in the US.


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Consumer discretionaries and property were next best, rising two per cent.

Commodity stocks were the only categories lower and lost less than one per cent.

The price of Brent crude oil fell to $US110.89 on expectations Shanghai’s coronavirus lockdown will hamper demand.

Meanwhile, Russia and Ukraine were poised to hold their first face-to-face peace talks in more than two weeks. Russia’s invasion sent oil prices soaring earlier this month.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 59.9 points, or 0.81 per cent, to 7472.3 at 1200 AEDT on Tuesday.

The index is less than 200 points from its record of August.

The All Ordinaries index was higher by 63.1 points, or 0.82 per cent, to 7752.4.

In company news, fund manager HRL Morrison joined Brookfield Infrastructure and made a bid that is the frontrunner for telecommunications provider Uniti Group.

The consortium raised an earlier offer from $4.50 per share to $5.00 per share ($3.3 billion) and matched a bid from a Macquarie Group alliance.

Uniti will work with the consortium exclusively to progress its bid and follow its request not to hold talks with the Macquarie alliance. Macquarie has a stake in a Uniti competitor, Vocus Group.

Uniti was down half a per cent to $4.69.

Macquarie was up one per cent to $202.50.

Private equity group Blackstone has gained approval to buy casino operator Crown from the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Blackstone still needs shareholders, courts and other regulators to approve its $8.9 billion, or $13.10 per share, offer for Crown.

Crown was up one per cent to $12.73.

Aerial imagery provider Nearmap has for the first time had annual contracts of $150 million.

The company recently signed its biggest government contract in North America.

Nearmap surged 13 per cent to $1.46.

The big miners were mixed. BHP and Rio Tinto fell less than one per cent each. Fortescue gained by the same measure.

In banking, Westpac was best of the big four for a second consecutive day. Westpac improved one per cent to $24.31.

The Australian dollar was buying 74.78 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 75.27 US cents at Monday’s close.