Aust shares edge higher even as odds of quick cuts dim

The local share market has finished slightly higher despite a blockbuster US jobs report reducing expectations for mid-year interest rate cuts in the world's largest economy.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Monday finished 15.8 points higher at 7,789.1, a rise of 0.2 per cent.

The broader All Ordinaries had gained 18.9 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 8,044.9.

The gains came even as the future market's implied odds of a June rate cut by the US Federal Reserve fell to less than one in two - down from three in four a month ago - on continued labour market strength in the US.  

Over the weekend the US Labor Department reported US non-farm payrolls increased by 300,000 in March, far more than the 214,000 expected. 

While share markets often fall on good economic data – because they reduce the chances for quick rate cuts to prop up the economy – Wall Street rallied on the news. The S&P500 rose 1.1 per cent and the Dow Jones climbed 0.8 per cent.

St George senior economist Jarek Kowcza said investors were interpreting the report as a sign the US economy, and by extension, earnings growth, was in good shape.

Gold was also in rude health on Monday, hitting an all-time record high of $US2,350 an ounce, up from $2,180 a month ago. 

Goldminers shone, with Newmont advancing 6.6 per cent to a three-month high of $60.41, Genesis Minerals climbing 4.9 per cent to a 15-year high of $1.945 and Northern Star growing 2.0 per cent to a more than three-year high of $15.17.

Elsewhere in the mining sector, Rio Tinto finished 1.0 per cent higher at $121.76, Fortescue added 0.3 per cent to $24.86 while BHP dropped 0.2 per cent to $44.25.

The energy sector was the biggest loser, dropping 1.2 per cent as crude prices retreated from their recent six-month high following an easing of tensions in the Middle East, where Israel was withdrawing some soldiers from Gaza while committing to fresh ceasefire talks.

Woodside dropped 1.6 per cent, Santos dipped 1.0 per cent and Ampol slid 0.6 per cent.

Beach Energy dropped 15.0 per cent to a one-month low of $1.61 after the Kerry Stokes-backed oil and gas producer said it had identified new quality issues at its Waitsia gas plant in Western Australia that would delay its opening by months while adding hundreds of millions to its cost.

"It is extremely disappointing to be continually encountering quality and execution issues given the late stage of the project," Beach managing director and chief executive Brett Woods said.

All of the Big Four banks gained a bit of ground, with NAB adding 0.4 per cent to $34.45, ANZ and Westpac both advancing 0.3 per cent, to $29.2 and $26.09, respectively, and CBA edging 0.1 per cent higher at $118.19.

The tech sector was the biggest gainer, up 1.2 per cent. Life360 soared 16.8 per cent to an all-time high of $14.18 after the family tracking company announced that its customer growth numbers were "materially ahead of what we understand to be market expectations for CY24 Q1".

On the flip side, Elders plunged 24.4 per cent to a three-month low of $7.43 after the agribusiness said that first-half trading had been significantly below expectations, in part due to the El Nino weather conditions.

The Australian dollar was buying 65.80 US cents, from 65.71 US cents at Friday's close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Monday finished up 15.8 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7,789.1.

* The broader All Ordinaries grew 18.9 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 8,044.9.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 65.80 US cents, from 65.71 US cents at Friday's ASX close

* 99.87 Japanese yen, from 99.36 yen

* 60.72 Euro cents, from 60.69 Euro cents

* 52.11 British pence, from 52.03 pence

* 109.40 NZ cents, from 109.36 NZ cents

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