SYDNEY, AAP – ASX energy shares skyrocketed after talk of a US-led ban on Russian oil imports while boycotts of other commodities from the same regime pushed the Australian dollar higher.

Energy shares gained five per cent on Monday and the Australian dollar rose to 74 US cents after the US and European allies discussed sanctions on a previously untouched Russian asset – oil.

Oil prices have surged since the major oil producer invaded Ukraine and in recent days reached their highest levels since 2008. Brent crude was trading for $US129.61 per barrel.

Demand for other commodities, such as coal and iron ore, has also moved from Russia and increased elsewhere.

OFX head of Australia and New Zealand Michael Judge said prices for nickel, aluminium, wheat and more had rocketed in the past week.


Top Australian Brokers


These soaring commodity prices were helping push the Australian dollar higher, he said.

The dollar has gained two US cents since Thursday.

Yet the commodity gains were not enough to offset the rest of the market.

Most share categories were lower. Technology fared worst and lost four per cent.

Healthcare shares lost three per cent. Market giant CSL traded ex-dividend.

There were losses of two per cent for industrials, consumer discretionaries and telecommunications.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 72.2 points, or 1.02 per cent, to 7038.6 points.

The index is about 600 points below its record high from August last year.

The All Ordinaries index closed lower by 74.1 points, or 1.00 per cent, to 7321.2 points.

The domestic economy continues to improve from its coronavirus-induced slump.

New figures show demand for workers spiked after the Omicron wave receded, pointing to a lower unemployment rate in the months ahead.

The ANZ job advertisement series jumped 8.4 per cent in February to be 31.5 per cent higher than a year earlier.

On the market, AGL shares slipped after the company rejected a sweetened takeover bid from a consortium led by Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes.

The consortium had lifted its offer to $8.25 per share, worth about $9 billion plus debt, from an initial unsolicited bid of $7.50 in late February.

AGL closed lower by one per cent to $7.30.

Most energy shares were doing much better given the gains in oil prices.

Woodside Petroleum was one of the top performers and climbed nine per cent to $34.41.

Rio Tinto misled investors when it failed to reveal some coal operations were no longer economically viable, a court has found.

The Federal Court ruled the mining giant failed to pass on information that Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique could not continue as a top coking coal resource.

The company has been fined $750,000.

Rio Tinto was down less than half a per cent to $125.98.

BHP gained less than one per cent to $50.38. Fortescue improved by one per cent to $19.54.

The founders of buy now, pay later group Zip have bought $1.5 million worth of shares.

Larry Diamond has the greatest stake and owns nine per cent of the company. Peter Gray owns almost three per cent.

Zip recently raised funds to buy Sezzle for $491 million in an all-stock deal.

Zip was down five per cent to $1.63.

In banking, the Commonwealth Bank was best and was little changed at $94.64. ANZ, NAB and Westpac each lost one per cent.

The Australian dollar was buying 74.12 US cents at 1725 AEDT, more than the 73.58 US cents at Friday’s close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 72.2 points, or 1.02 per cent, to 7038.6 points on Monday.

* The All Ordinaries index closed lower by 74.1 points, or 1.00 per cent, to 7321.2 points.

* At 1725 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down 11 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 7016 points.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 74.12 US cents, from 73.58 cents on Friday

* 85.20 Japanese yen, from 84.91 yen

* 68.12 Euro cents, from 66.67 cents

* 56.11 British pence, from 55.10 pence

* 107.40 NZ cents, from 107.83 cents.