SYDNEY, AAP – Market giant BHP was booming and the Australian share market was higher for a fourth day in the past five, helped by higher commodity prices.

BHP was higher by four per cent to $48.56 on Tuesday and its mining rivals helped materials shares be the main driving force for the Australian market.

Rio Tinto was up almost three per cent and Fortescue gained one per cent as the war in Ukraine keeps prices for materials elevated.

Iron ore prices moved lower overnight, but IG Markets analyst Kyle Rodda said commodity prices remained elevated due to supply disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion.

Oil prices surged overnight as the European Union weighed joining the United States in banning Russian oil, which raised supply concerns. Brent crude last traded for $US117.14 per barrel.


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The price increase helped ASX energy shares, which gained almost two per cent.

Beach Energy was up three per cent to $1.62.

The major category of financial shares improved one per cent.

Technology shares were worst, losing almost one per cent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 80.3 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 7358.8 points at 1200 AEDT.

The index is about 300 points from its record high in August last year.

The All Ordinaries index was higher by 76.7 points, or 1.01 per cent, to 7635.6 points.

Wall Street closed lower after US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell hinted at a more aggressive tightening of monetary policy.

Powell suggested bigger-than-usual rate rises may be needed from May to quell inflation. Investors expect this could mean increases of 0.5 per cent.

In ASX company news, recent heavy rain in NSW and Queensland has contributed to Boral downgrading its full-year earnings forecast.

The building materials supplier has struggled to produce and deliver products in affected regions. Steep increases in coal and fuel prices also contributed to the downgrade.

Earnings have been revised down by $23 million to a range of $145 million to $155 million.

Boral was down three per cent to $3.32.

Coal miner New Hope will deliver bumper payouts to shareholders after higher coal prices boosted first-half earnings.

A net profit after tax of $330.4 million for the six months to January 31 easily bettered the loss posted in the prior corresponding period.

Shareholders will receive an interim dividend of 17 cents per share, along with a special dividend of 13 cents per share.

New Hope was up almost six per cent to $3.10.

Ramsay Health Care has received an offer from its partner in its Asian joint venture to buy the remainder of the shares.

IHH Healthcare Berhad has offered $A1.82 billion to buy the other shares in the 50:50 Ramsay Sime Darby joint venture.

The two groups will examine the financials under an exclusive arrangement for four weeks.

Ramsay was up one per cent to $63.96.

The big four banks were all higher by one per cent. The fifth biggest bank, Bendigo, was closer to gains of two per cent and last sold for $10.11.

The Australian dollar was buying 73.83 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 73.98 US cents at Monday’s close.