SYDNEY, AAP – Coal, oil and mining shares continued to soar on the ASX, with sentiment helped by relief on Wall Street over details of an expected rate hike.

The ASX was up 0.74 per cent at noon on Thursday and investors pushed up prices of commodity companies due to fears Russia will struggle to supply goods while under severe economic sanctions.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 53.2 points, or 0.74 per cent, to 7169.9 points at 1200 AEDT.

The All Ordinaries index rose 57.6 points, or 0.77 per cent, to 7463.9 points.

Yancoal and Whitehaven Coal were two of the biggest movers on the ASX and gained 10 and six per cent respectively.


Top Australian Brokers


Energy shares were the best performing sector and rose two per cent as Brent crude oil traded for $US112.93 per barrel.

Materials shares were next best and gained two per cent. Giants BHP and Rio Tinto improved by the same margin. Fortescue rose one per cent.

Consumer staples shares, which include the supermarkets, had the only losses of note and dropped one per cent.

Coles and Woolworths are struggling to supply customers in parts of NSW and Queensland affected by flooding.

Coles dropped two per cent to $17.14. Woolworths lost one per cent to $34.64.

Earlier, US markets closed higher after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signalled the central bank would probably raise interest rates by less than some investors feared.

The central bank boss is inclined to support a 25 basis point rate hike in March, he told a US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.

Most developed economies are experiencing record inflation as they bounce back from the pandemic. Inflation in the 19 countries sharing the Euro currency soared to another record high last month, 5.8 per cent annually.

In Australia, there was a boost for the economy as Western Australia finally dropped its hard coronavirus border and opened to the rest of the country.

In company news, the competition watchdog said it will not oppose Corporate Travel Management’s proposed purchase of Helloworld Travel.

Corporate Travel Management in December revealed a $175 million offer for the corporate and entertainment travel provider.

The buy is expected to be sealed by the end of March.

Corporate Travel Management was up one per cent to $22.44 while Helloworld was up four per cent to $2.25.

There was little movement among the banks. ANZ was best and rose less than one per cent to $25.78.

Miners IGO and Impact Minerals were higher after the discovery of a large electromagnetic conductor at their Broken Hill project in NSW.

The conductor could produce valuable deposits of copper, gold, nickel, platinum, palladium and silver.

IGO was up three per cent to $12.20 and the much smaller Impact was up 16 per cent to one cent.

The Australian dollar was buying 72.88 US cents at 1200 AEDT, more than the 72.68 US cents at Wednesday’s close.