Aussie shares hit three-week high after US jobs report

The Australian share market has risen to a more than three-week high after a US jobs report offered hope the US economy is coming in for a "soft landing" that avoids a recession while quashing inflation.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Monday gained 40.5 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 7,318.8, its best level since August 11.

 The All Ordinaries rose 35.8 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 7,525.7.

The gains came after the report known as non-farm payrolls indicated late on Friday the US labour market was softening in response to the Federal Reserve's campaign of hefty interest rate hikes, but still had some underlying momentum.

"Fed chair (Jerome) Powell, or President Biden for that matter, probably couldn’t have scripted a better August employment report if they’d tried," wrote Ray Attrill, NAB's head of FX strategy and markets.

"The Goldilocks metaphor is much used and abused in economic and financial circles, but in relation to the various ‘soft landing’ signals emanating from the report, on this occasion it does seem entirely appropriate."

The readout was seen to diminish the odds that the Fed would raise interest rates at its next meeting on September 20, which had already been seen as unlikely.

Domestically, markets and economists are confident the Reserve Bank will keep rates on hold at the central bank's board meeting on Tuesday, following last week's softer-than-expected inflation data.

Liontown Resources was the biggest winner among the ASX200 at midday, climbing 8.8 per cent $2.85 as the lithium developer's board announced it was keen to accept a $3-per share, $6.6 billion tentative takeover offer from the world's largest lithium producer.

Liontown is opening its books to US-based Albemarle with the goal of signing a binding deal for the acquisition.

On the flip side, Leo Lithium plunged 50.9 per cent to a four-month low of 56c as it resumed trading for the first time since July 18 after the government of Mali ordered it to stop crushed lithium ore from its Goulamina mine in the West African country.

Leo says it had preferred to bring the ore to market in advance of opening its processing plant next year, but the project was still viable without that option.

Elsewhere in the mining sector, BHP rose 2.7 per cent to $45.93, Rio Tinto added 2.5 per cent to $117.12 but Fortescue dipped 0.5 per cent to $20.20 following last week's senior management departures.

The Big Four banks all finished higher, with CBA gaining 0.7 per cent to $102.01, Westpac and NAB both adding 0.2 per cent, to $21.83 and $28.95, respectively, and ANZ edging 0.1 per cent higher at $25.19.

SkyCity Entertainment plunged 14.8 per cent to a three-year low of $1.85 after New Zealand's Department of Internal Affairs asked the Gambling Commission to suspend its casino licence for around 10 days, following a complaint from a former customer who says SkyCity didn't detect or act on his problem gambling.

The Australian dollar was buying 64.71 US cents, from 64.55 US cents at Friday's ASX close.


* The S&P/ASX200 index finished Friday up 40.5  points, or 0.56 per cent, at 7,318.8.

* The All Ordinaries dropped 35.8 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 7,525.7.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 64.55 US cents, from 64.55 US cents at Friday's ASX close

* 94.62 Japanese yen, from 93.99 Japanese yen

* 59.89 Euro cents, from 59.54 Euro cents

* 51.25 British pence, from 51.03 pence

* 108.72 NZ cents, from 108.47 NZ cents

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