Major miners dig in to lead Australian stocks higher

The local bourse has gained ground for a second straight day, this time with the mining sector leading the way.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Tuesday rose 35.1 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 7,824.2, while the broader All Ordinaries gained 36.3 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 8,081.2.

The heavyweight mining sector was the biggest gainer among the ASX's 11 regions, rising 1.5 per cent amid strong gains for the iron ore giants.

IG market analyst Tony Sycamore wrote that as the second quarter gets underway, there have been intriguing signs of a rotation out of financials and into the materials sector, which fell 7.9 per cent last quarter as the price of iron ore plunged from nearly $US144 a tonne to $100 per tonne.

A global gauge of industrial activity known as the purchasing manager's index has lately been better than expected, bolstering the price of key commodities such as copper, iron ore, gold and crude oil, Mr Sycamore said. 

Simultaneously, higher bond yields may weigh on financials, Mr Sycamore said. Last quarter the sector rose 11.0 per cent - its best quarterly performance in three years - helping push the ASX200 to repeated all-time highs.

 Rio Tinto on Tuesday finished up 3.0 per cent at a six-week high of $125.36, while BHP added 2.0 per cent to $45.13 and Fortescue climbed 1.6 per cent to $25.26.

Lithium miner Liontown Resources was the best performer in the ASX200 on Tuesday, climbing 8.8 per cent to $1.295, while rare earth miner Lynas added 3.3 per cent to $5.96 and goldminer Evolution rose 0.8 per cent to $3.95 as the precious metal hit another all-time high overnight at $US2,343 an ounce. 

In the financial sector, the big retail banks all finished higher on Tuesday but their gains were not as strong.

Westpac added 1.2 per cent to $26.39, CBA climbed 0.8 per cent to $119.15, ANZ added 0.7 per cent to $29.41 and NAB rose 0.5 per cent to $34.63. 

Ansell rose 6.5 per cent to $25.43 after the glovemaker announced it had reached a deal to acquire Kimberly-Clark's personal protective equipment business for $US640 million ($A969m) in cash.

Managing director and chief executive Neil Salmon said that Ansell had for many years viewed acquiring Kimberly-Clark's Kimtech and KleenGuard personal protective equipment brands as one of its most attractive acquisition opportunities, so he was delighted with the deal.

MotorCycle Holdings dropped 1.3 per cent to $1.535 after the chain of bike dealerships and accessories stores disclosed it was the latest company to fall victim to a cyber attack. 

A "threat actor" unlawfully injected malicious code into two websites used in its business that may have resulted in the exposure of customers' personal information, the company said.  

The Australian dollar was at a five-day high against its US counterpart, buying 66.02 US cents, from 65.80 US cents at Monday's close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Tuesday finished up 35.1 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 7,824.2.

* The broader All Ordinaries grew 36.3 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 8,081.2.


One Australian dollar buys:

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

* 100.28 Japanese yen, from 99.87  yen

* 60.80 Euro cents, from 60.72 Euro cents

* 52.18 British pence, from 52.11 pence

* 109.37 NZ cents, from 109.40 NZ cents


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