SYDNEY, AAP – A rise in oil prices has dampened investor sentiment but the Australian share market has done better than Wall Street.
The market was little changed on Thursday after oil prices rallied five per cent overnight, last trading at $US123.29.
Oil jumped after storm damage at Kazakhstan’s Caspian Pipeline Consortium terminal stopped crude exports. Russia’s deputy prime minister said oil supplies could be stopped for two months.
Energy shares were best on the ASX and higher by almost two per cent.
Materials shares were next best, up one per cent.
BHP and Rio Tinto each gained two per cent to $49.41 and $116.18 respectively.
Gains for commodity shares have helped the ASX gain in five of the past six trading days.
In Europe, US President Joe Biden is meeting NATO allies this week to decide on additional sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Russia is a big commodities producer and the uncertainty of supply has sent prices of agricultural goods, metals and oil soaring.
The Australian dollar, a commodity currency, earlier bought 75 US cents.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 5.3 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 7383.2 at 1200 AEDT.
The index is fewer than 300 points from its record high in August last year.
The All Ordinaries was higher by three points, or 0.03 per cent, to 7668.
Wall Street closed more than one per cent lower after the higher oil prices.
In company news, National Australia Bank will follow its $2.5 on-market buyback with another of the same value.
The bank wants to improve its capital ratio and reduce shares although is still to determine offer details.
The buyback will begin after its first-half earnings news on May 5.
NAB was little changed at $31.70.
ANZ was weakest of the big four banks, dropping almost one per cent to $27.64.
JB Hi-Fi reported third-quarter sales to date were well ahead of the same period last year.
JB Hi-Fi Australia was up 11 per cent and The Good Guys was better by five per cent.
The same divisions had better sales for the financial year so far, although JB Hi-Fi New Zealand lagged two per cent.
JB Hi-Fi was up four per cent to $52.88.
Brickworks posted a record first-half profit and increased its dividend.
A net profit after tax of $581 million for the six months to January 31 was helped by the sale of shares in Washington H Soul Pattinson.
Investors will receive a fully franked interim payout of 22 cents per share. This is more than the 21 cents per share payout this time last year.
Brickworks was up four per cent to $22.72.
A Macquarie Group consortium has made a $3.3 billion takeover bid for telecommunications provider Uniti Group.
The bid betters an earlier $3 billion offer from fund manager HRL Morrison & Co. It offered $4.50 per share.
Uniti was up one per cent to $4.73.
Macquarie was down one per cent to $197.42.
Asset manager Janus Henderson has found its new boss at a US investment group.
Janus Henderson named its incoming leader as Ali Dibadj, chief financial officer at Alliance Bernstein. He will replace Dick Weil.
Janus Henderson was down three per cent to $45.82.
The Australian dollar was buying 74.94 US cents at 1200 AEDT, higher from 74.54 US cents at Wednesday’s close.