SYDNEY, AAP – Shares on the ASX were doing better than investors might have expected given gloom in the US following the jobs report on Friday.

The Australian indices were only a little lower on Monday as gains of more than one per cent for energy and materials shares offset losses across most other categories.

The big miners were thriving. South32 improved by about four per cent. Fortescue rose 2.77 per cent.

BHP and Rio Tinto each moved up by almost two per cent.

Energy shares were doing well despite the oil price falling from coronavirus infections impacting economic activity.


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Woodside was a standout among the big names. Its shares rose about three per cent to $23.39.

The biggest ASX losses were in technology shares, which have lost about seven per cent this month.

Financial software vendor Xero and cargo shipping software vendor WiseTech Global each lost a little more than three per cent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 9.4 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 7443.9 points at 1200 AEDT.

The All Ordinaries index was lower by 11.7 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 7762.7 points.

The performance was better than the US lead.

Wall Street closed lower on Friday after data showed employers added only about half the number of jobs last month than economists expected.

Wages rose more than expected, adding to fears the US Federal Reserve will hike rates sooner to slow inflation.

US inflation data due on Thursday will be a major talking point of the week.

On the ASX, equities manager VGI Partners confirmed it is talking to businesses including Regal Funds Management about merging.

VGI said the talks were in the early stages.

Shares in the company were up 6.7 per cent to $5.08.

Regal shares were lower by one per cent to $3.95.

Electric car battery producer Novonix will list on the Nasdaq to make the business more accessible to US investors.

The company supplies synthetic graphite anode material to US electric car makers.

Shares were up about seven per cent to $10.01.

Explosives and fertiliser producer Incitec Pivot has agreed to buy a French explosives manufacturer called Titanobel.

Incitec will pay about $142 million from its cash and debt reserves in a bid to boost its European trade.

Shares were up 1.36 per cent to $3.34.

In banking, there were mixed results across the major players. The Commonwealth and Westpac were higher by less than half a per cent. ANZ and NAB were lower by the same measure.

The Australian dollar was buying 71.85 US cents at 1200 AEDT, higher from 71.59 US cents at Friday’s close.