Slim gains on ASX after China concern

Steven DeareAAP
The ASX was broadly higher to start the week.
Camera IconThe ASX was broadly higher to start the week. Credit: AAP

Investors had a winning start to the week on the Australian share market despite concerns about China and an energy shortage.

The market closed higher by about a quarter of a per cent on Monday, although news of China's economic slowdown dampened momentum.

The third-quarter growth of Australia's major trading partner was the slowest in 12 months, 4.9 per cent.

NAB economists said coronavirus restrictions, fuel shortages and electricity shortages were to blame.

"There is uncertainty around how long the impacts of these issues persist," they wrote in a note.

The energy shortage is not confined to China. Brent crude oil earlier traded for its highest price since October 2018, $US86.04 per barrel.

Demand for travel and oil is improving after the peak of the pandemic. Supply has been complicated by coronavirus restrictions.

Energy shares were the third-best category on the ASX, behind materials and financials.

Miners have been helped by recent gains in base metals prices.

Westpac senior currency strategist Sean Callow said supply disruptions and fears of inflation were helping prices rise.

He said these metal price gains had helped the Aussie dollar to its highest level in five weeks.

The Aussie dollar bought more than 74 US cents for most of Monday.

The Reserve Bank may reveal its forecast for the dollar when the minutes of its past meeting are published on Tuesday.

The bank kept rates at a record low 0.1 per cent and leaders have not agreed with market forecasts of higher rates next year in the COVID recovery.

In the US, third-quarter earnings reports will continue. More banks will give their figures this week.

Earlier the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 19.1 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 7381.1.

The All Ordinaries closed up 15.5 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7689.7.

Technology, property and healthcare shares had the greatest losses.

Poker machine maker Aristocrat Leisure has pitched a $5 billion offer for gambling software vendor Playtech.

The offer had a premium of about 50 per cent on Playtech's last closing price on the London Stock Exchange.

Aristocrat will sell $1.3 billion in shares to help fund the deal.

Shares last traded for $45.79 before they were paused.

Senex Energy shares surged after a takeover offer.

Oil and gas explorer POSCO International has raised previous offers for Senex to $4.40 per share.

The two companies were talking about a higher offer.

Shares were up 14.92 per cent to $4.39.

In banking, ANZ and the Commonwealth were more than one per cent higher. NAB and Westpac improved by less than one per cent.

Among the big miners, Rio Tinto was best and rose 1.86 per cent to $101.45. BHP and Fortescue gained close to one per cent each.

Car service software vendor Infomedia fell heavily after its chief executive resigned.

Infomedia said Jonathan Rubinsztein had helped turn the company's fortunes after five years in the role.

Mr Rubinsztein is joining another technology business although its identity has not been revealed.

Shares were down by more than 15 per cent to $1.39.

The Australian dollar was buying 73.97 US cents at 1721 AEDT, lower from 74.25 US cents at Friday's close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 19.1 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 7381.1 on Monday.

* The All Ordinaries closed up 15.5 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7689.7.

* At 1721 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down 17 points, or 0.023 per cent, at 7340 points.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 73.97 US cents, from 74.25 cents on Friday

* 84.55 Japanese yen, from 84.66 yen

* 63.90 Euro cents, from 63.95 cents

* 53.90 British pence, from 54.27 pence

* 104.75 NZ cents, from 105.23 cents.

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