Australian shares creep higher as oil prices rebound

The Australian share market has moved slightly higher, with energy companies leading the way amid a rebound in the price of oil and a shift in sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Monday basically reversed Friday's losses, finishing nine points higher at 7,057.4, a gain of 0.13 per cent. The broader All Ordinaries added 7.7 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 7,268.7.

"Market sentiment globally has been boosted by the prospect of a peak in the global rate hiking cycle," wrote market analyst Kyle Rodda.

"The narrative has shifted so far that the focus has turned to when the first wave of cuts might occur."

Australia's Reserve Bank is seen as one of the last hawkish central banks left, as it started its rate-hiking cycle less aggressively than others. The release on Tuesday of minutes from its last board meeting a fortnight ago may give further insight into its thinking.

Meanwhile oil had climbed above $US81 a barrel on reports of possible deep OPEC+ production cuts this weekend, after Brent crude sank to a four-month low of $US76 late last week.

That led the ASX's energy sector finishing 1.3 per cent higher on Monday, with Woodside rising similarly, Santos gaining 1.1 per cent and Whitehaven Coal climbing 2.4 per cent.

The Big Four banks all closed higher, with ANZ up 0.8 per cent to $24.25, Westpac adding 0.6 per cent to $21.22, and NAB and CBA both up 0.7 per cent, to $27.93 and $103.17, respectively.

The ASX itself rose 1.2 per cent to $57.80 as the bourse announced it had hired global technology provider TATA Consultancy Services to deliver a replacement for its aging CHESS settlement system for trades. 

The new system will be implemented in stages from 2026 to 2028 or 2029, the ASX said.

The heavyweight mining sector closed flat, with BHP and Fortescue both climbing 0.3 per cent, to $46.74 and $25.30, respectively, while Rio Tinto dipped 0.5 per cent to $125.

In health care, EBOS Group was in a trading halt to announce a potential acquisition, amid reports from The Australian and the Australian Financial Review that the New Zealand-based pharmaceutical wholesaler was in talks to acquire pet care company Greencross from TPG Capital for several billion dollars.

Greencross owns Petbarn, City Farmer and the Animates chain in New Zealand, along with Australia’s largest network of veterinary practices, with over 160 clinics nationwide.

Telstra dipped 0.8 per cent to $3.81 as turmoil continued at its chief consumer rival, Optus, with the resignation of CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin.

Back in the energy sector, Peninsula Energy had sunk 31.7 per cent to a nearly three-year low of 8.1c after announcing a $60 capital raise at a deep discount to fund its restart of a uranium mine in the US state of Wyoming.

The Australian dollar was at a three-month high against its US counterpart, buying 65.50 US cents, from 64.71 US cents on Friday.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Monday finished nine points higher at 7,058.4, a gain of 0.13 per cent.

* The broader All Ordinaries added 7.7 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 7,268.7.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 65.46 US cents, from 64.71 US cents at Friday's ASX close

* 97.64 Japanese yen, from 97.45 Japanese yen

* 59.96 Euro cents, from 59.62 Euro cents

* 52.47 British pence, from 52.12 pence

* 108.66 NZ cents, from 108.58 NZ cents.

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