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Miner-led rally lifts Aust shares at close

Christian Edwards
AAP

Australian shares have closed higher led by the big miners following strong overnight leads from Wall Street as fears of a trade war between the US and China receded.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 41.8 points, or 0.72 per cent, to 5,832.3 points on Tuesday, while the All Ordinaries lifted 42.3 points, or 0.72 per cent, to 5,943.7 points, with all sectors in positive territory.

Tribeca Investment Partners deputy portfolio manager Jun Bei Liu said the strong rise in the materials sector came as investors returned to the major miners following weakness in some commodity prices and in the sector over the last two sessions.

"Investors may also be positioning for a rebound in the price of iron ore which has declined steadily but considering the three-month outlook, I would say that position is not great," Ms Liu said.

Iron ore prices have fallen sharply in recent weeks, from above $US78 at the start of March to $US64.33 a tonne overnight, according to Metal Bulletin data.

CBA commodities strategist Vivek Dhar said the rise in BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto reflected a "removal of pessimism" in iron ore and steel markets as the US and China engaged in talks that may avoid the imposition of damaging tariffs on each country's exports.

There had also been signs of a reduction in steel rebar stockpiles in China, signalling an improvement in Chinese steel demand, Mr Dhar said.

BHP Billiton was up 1.4 per cent to $28.99, rival Rio Tinto gained 1.2 per cent to $74.16 and BHP spin off, the diversified miner South 32 jumped 3.5 per cent, to $3.28.

On a volatile day for its share price, Fortescue Metals ended 0.7 per cent lower at $4.58 after cutting its expected revenue from iron ore contracts this financial year, citing slow Chinese construction and global trade war fears.

US markets rebounded strongly overnight after China made reassuring overtures of its flexibility on the trade differences that have split the world's two largest economies and the US said talks between the countries were progressing.

The Commonwealth Bank was 0.7 per cent higher at $72.43, while National Australia Bank lost 0.5 per cent to $28.64, ANZ was 0.4 per cent lower at $27.41 and Westpac was up 0.1 per cent at $28.70.

Shares in Oz Minerals were up 10 cents, or 1.1 per cent at $9.10, after the copper miner launched a $444 million takeover bid for the listed minerals explorer Avanco.

Avanco shares more than doubled to 15.5 cents.

Newcrest shares fell 1.7 per cent, to $19.82, despite the reopening of the gold miner's Cadia mine in NSW after a partial tailings dam collapse halted work earlier this month.

The local energy producers lifted as crude futures rose slightly: Woodside Petroleum gaining 0.7 per cent to $29.50, Santos up 1.4 per cent to $5.19 and Oil Search 2.4 per cent higher at $7.36.

The blood plasma products and vaccines developer CSL led the health sector, up 1.2 per cent at $158.55, while Telstra led the IT sector, up 0.5 per cent, at $3.21.

At 1700 AEDT, the Australian dollar was at 77.30 US cents, up from 77.21 US cents on Monday, supported by by strength in base metal prices.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed up 41.8 points, or 0.72 per cent, at 5,832.3 points

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 42.3 points, or 0.72 per cent, at 5,943.7 points

* The SPI200 futures contract was up 40 points, or 0.69 per cent, at 5,818 points

* National turnover was 4 billion securities traded worth $6.5 billion

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 77.30 US cents, from 77.21 on Monday

* 81.662 Japanese yen, from 81.05 yen

* 62.10 euro cents, from 62.42 euro cents

* 54.33 British pence, from 54.55 pence

* 106.12 NZ cents, from 106.28 cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,352.69 per fine ounce, from $US1,345.06 per fine ounce on Monday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.0334pct, from 2.039pct, on Monday

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.6298pct, from 2.6349pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* June 2018 10-year bond futures contract was 97.33 (implying a yield of 2.67pct), from 97.325 (2.675pct) on Monday

* June 2018 3-year bond futures contract was 97.84 (2.16pct), from 97.845 (2.155pct).

(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)