Australia Markets closed

Miners, banks boost Aust shares

Aaron Saldanha and Peter Trute
Australian shares have gained on Monday, with mining stocks driving the overall market

Australian shares rose on Monday, as strong iron ore prices in China helped material stocks while investors were largely focused on earnings due later in the week.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index ended the day up 38.2 points, or 0.61 per cent, at 6,273.0 points, while the All Ordinaries was up 32.6 points, or 0.52 per cent, at 6,359.0 points.

The most-traded September iron ore contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange climbed as much as 6.5 per cent to its loftiest since March 9 supported by strong margins at China's steel producers as Beijing's anti-pollution fight tightens supply.

The bounce in commodities fed into Australia's material plays, said Christopher Conway, head of research and trading at Australian Stock Report.

The gains also come despite wider concerns about global trade after a fresh escalation in the Sino-US trade war.

However, investor focus is likely to shift to companies' earnings announcements this week, Mr Conway said.

Mining stocks were the main driver for gains, with BHP adding 2.2 per cent to $34.10 and Rio Tinto 0.6 per cent higher at $77.02.

Lithium play Galaxy Resources lifted 3.3 per cent to $2.84, after it said its deal to sell some Argentine assets to South Korea's POSCO for $US280 million was ahead of schedule.

Banks gained ground as the financial services royal commission resumed hearings - this time on the superannuation sector - with Commonwealth Bank adding one per cent to $73.56.

Australia's largest lender is due to report full-year results on Wednesday.

Wealth manager AMP is also due to report half-year results on Wednesday and its shares fell 1.4 per cent to $3.45 on Monday.

In companies news, online jobs giant Seek slumped $1.92, or 8.8 per cent, to a three-month low of $20.00 after flagging slower revenue growth in 2018/19 and impairments on its Brazil and Mexico operations.

The Australian dollar was at 73.95 US cents at 1700 AEST, up slightly from 73.60 US cents on Friday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 38.2 points, or 0.61 per cent, at 6,273.0 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 32.6 points, or 0.52 per cent, at 6,359.0 points.

* The SPI200 futures contract was up 25 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 6,208 points at 1630 AEST.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 73.95 US cents, from 73.60 US cents on Friday

* 82.327 Japanese yen, from 82.217

* 63.96 euro cents, from 63.58

* 56.89 British pence, from 56.59

* 109.68 NZ cents, from 109.46

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,213.24 per fine ounce, down from $US1,205.74 per fine ounce on Friday.