ASX sets record again, miners thrive
There is no stopping the Australian share market after the indices hit record levels for the second consecutive day.
The ASX200 broke Monday's record after 23 minutes, then later sprung again to raise the all-time high to 7447.9 points.
Investors were particularly keen to buy the big miners.
BHP and Rio Tinto shares set record prices prior to the latter's first-half earnings on Wednesday.
BHP shares sold for $53.65 at one stage and closed higher by 2.79 per cent to $53.36.
Rio shares swapped for a high mark of $133.42. They closed better by 1.81 per cent to $132.47.
IG Markets analyst Kyle Rodda said higher commodity prices, particularly for copper, helped building materials stocks.
The other major miner, iron ore specialist Fortescue, was just shy of records and closed up 1.57 per cent to $25.82.
Energy shares were the next best contributor due to higher oil prices.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Tuesday closed higher by 37.1 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 7431.4.
The All Ordinaries closed up 33.5 points, or 0.44 per cent, to 7704.
Those record heights were also helped by Wall Street.
US markets were at closing highs overnight.
Investors remain optimistic the economic rebound from the pandemic will continue after plenty of strong corporate earnings reports.
Mr Rodda noted the next 48 hours would be particularly eventful.
Three giants of technology - Google owner Alphabet, Apple and Microsoft will report earnings.
Their performance and commentary on the economic outlook will influence market movements around the world.
The US Federal Reserve will deliberate as part of a two-day policy meeting.
Much attention will be on whether the central bank offers any concerns about high inflation.
Domestically, there was better news for the economy, which has had about half the nation's population in coronavirus lockdown.
South Australians and Victorians are set to be relieved of their stay-at-home orders in the next 24 hours.
People in Sydney and surrounds expect their lockdown to continue into August.
On the ASX, BlueScope Steel is set for record earnings.
The company said unaudited figures showed the best full-year underlying earnings ($1.72 billion) since its demerger.
Rising steel prices in the US and strong demand in Australia and New Zealand contributed.
Shares were up 6.4 per cent to $24.43.
The makers of a nasal spray claim it's more than 99 per cent effective against the COVID-19 Delta variant sweeping the world.
Biopharmaceutical group Starpharma published test results to show its Viraleze spray, already used in Europe and India, works well against the highly infectious Delta.
Starpharma is waiting for approval to sell the spray in Australia.
Shares were up 7.94 per cent to $1.36.
Oil Search said it was on track to meet full-year production and capital spending targets.
The company posted second-quarter earnings which included sales revenue improving by 21.5 per cent on the first quarter.
First-half earnings are due on August 24.
Shares were down 0.51 per cent to $3.93.
Miner IGO will form a joint venture with the Creasy Group to explore around the Silver Knight nickel-copper deposit in Western Australia.
IGO is paying the Creasy Group $45 million to form the venture and buy the deposit.
Shares were higher by 1.68 per cent to $9.08.
The big four banks were all higher.
The Commonwealth did best of the group and rose 1.58 per cent to $100.71.
Technology shares were the worst performing category and shed almost one per cent.
Artificial intelligence software vendor Appen had one of the biggest falls and lost 2.91 per cent to $12.03.
The Australian dollar was buying 73.46 US cents at 1721 AEST, the same value as at Monday's close.
ON THE ASX
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 37.1 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 7431.4 on Tuesday.
* The All Ordinaries closed up 33.5 points, or 0.44 per cent, to 7704.
* At 1721 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was down by 23 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 7317 points.
One Australian dollar buys:
* 73.46 US cents, from 73.46 cents on Monday
* 80.88 Japanese yen, from 81.00 yen
* 62.37 Euro cents, from 62.32 cents
* 53.26 British pence, from 53.43 pence
* 105.59 NZ cents, from 105.53 cents.
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