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ASX gains 1pct, to highest level in Sept

·3-min read

The local bourse has closed higher for a third straight session, finishing at its highest level this month as the materials sector continued to rebound.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Monday closed up 70.3 points to 6964.5, a gain of 1.02 per cent. The broader All Ordinaries climbed 69.2 points to 7208.2, a 0.97 per cent gain.

"Overall, traders are a lot more optimistic to begin the week as (global) markets recorded a lot better weekly progress last week and broke their spell of weekly losses," wrote AvaTrade chief market analyst Naeem Aslam.

Traders are hoping for the best, he said, and "gearing up for the latest reading of US inflation" due to be released Tuesday night, Australia time.

All sectors were up on Monday save healthcare, which dipped 0.3 per cent as CSL fell 0.8 per cent to $296.30.

The heavyweight mining sector rose 2.2 per cent as iron ore prices rebounded on a better outlook from China.

BHP added 3.5 per cent to $39.41, Fortescue Metals gained 3.3 per cent to $18.40 and Rio Tinto advanced 1.8 per cent to $96.04.

Mineral Resources gained 2.2 per cent to an all-time closing high of $73.08 following last week's reports it was considering spinning off its lithium business.

Lithium miner Pilbara Minerals likewise closed at its highest level, $4.57, after a 1.6 per cent gain.

The heavyweight financial sector rose 1.1 per cent, with all of the big banks gaining ground.

ANZ added 1.4 per cent to $23.33, Westpac rose 1.0 per cent to $21.47, CBA gained 0.8 per cent to $96.28 and NAB up 0.5 per cent to $29.99.

Atlas Arteria dropped 2.1 per cent to $7.81 after a stoush appeared to be developing between the toll road operator's board and a superannuation fund manager that owns a 20 per cent stake in the company.

After Atlas Arteria confirmed a report that it was participating in the sale process for US toll road operator Chicago Skyway, IFM Investors demanded that it withdraw from the bidding or face a board spill.

IFM, which invests on behalf of super funds including Australian Super, said it feared the acquisition "would be dilutive or otherwise destroy shareholder value".

The Star Entertainment Group was in a trading halt in advance of the release of a report by solicitor Adam Bell into the company's fitness to hold a NSW casino license.

The Australian reported that the Bell inquiry would conclude that Star should lose its licence to operate in NSW unless it overhauled its board and compliance department.

Starpharma Holdings had fallen 0.9 per cent to 58c despite the Melbourne biopharmaceutical company announcing promising results in a small trial of its dendrimer nanoparticle version of a popular prostate cancer drug.

A2 Milk gained 2.5 per cent to $5.70 after its partner Synlait Milk received continued permission to sell its infant milk formula product in China.

Meanwhile the Australian dollar was buying 68.81 US cents, from 68.37 US cents at Friday's close.

Looking forward, the ASX confirmed Monday evening that it will observe the National Day of Mourning for the Queen and there'll be no trading on Thursday, September 22.

"While the relatively short notice presents operational, technical and business challenges for ASX and the markets, ASX appreciates the support of its stakeholders to help honour the significance of the occasion," the exchange said in a statement.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Monday climbed 70.3 points to 6964.5, a 1.02 per cent rise.

* The broader All Ordinaries gained 69.2 points, or 0.97 per cent, to 7208.2.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 68.79 US cents, from 68.48 US cents at Friday's close

* 98.24 Japanese yen, from 97.54 yen

* 67.55 Euro cents, from 67.93 cents

* 58.90 British pence, from 59.00 pence

* 111.90 NZ cents, from 111.97 cents.