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Energy, bank stocks drive ASX up

James Hall
Australian shares are higher as investors pile into energy and banking stocks

The Australian share market has snapped an eight day losing streak, buoyed by strong results from oil and financial stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 38 points, or 0.62 per cent, to 6,179.7 points on Tuesday, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 37.9 points, or 0.61 per cent, to 6,287.6 points.

CMC Markets' chief strategist Michael McCarthy said the day's strong performance suggested there had been an element of bargain hunting among traders and investors.

"That eight days of losses brought us to a level where people were happy to step up and start buying," he said.

Investors' appetite for energy stocks was bolstered by an overnight jump in global benchmark Brent crude, pushing the sector to a gain beyond two per cent for the first time since June 6.

Whitehaven Coal jumped 3.7 per cent and was among the top gains on the benchmark, while Origin Energy rose 3.2 per cent.

The financial sector rose 0.85 per cent with positive results across all of the big four banks.

Commonwealth Bank led the gains, up 1.6 per cent to $71.87, while NAB had the smallest lift, up 0.29 per cent to $27.77.

Macquarie Group Ltd was up 1.8 per cent to $124.87 after it said on Tuesday it expects the group's fiscal year 2019 result to be broadly in line with fiscal 2018.

Healthcare stocks, however, were down after key market performer CSL fell to a near-four week low during the day's trading, finishing 0.7 per cent down to $210.63.

Shares in insurer Clearview fell 9.9 per cent after being grilled at the royal commission on Monday and going ex-dividend on Tuesday, while Myer's shares were down 3.3 per cent ahead of the retailer revealing its full-year results on Wednesday.

The Australian dollar came under pressure due to continued economic hostilities between the US and China and possible trade tariff escalation.

The Aussie was buying 71.23 US cents at 1700 AEST, up from 71.01 on Monday.

On the ASX:

* The S&P/ASX200 closed up 38 points, or 0.62 per cent, to 6,179.7 points

* The All Ordinaries was up 37.9 points, or 0.61 per cent, to 6,287.6 points

* In futures trading the SPI200 futures index was down 38 points, or 0.62 per cent, at 6,175.0 points at 1630 AEST.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 71.23 US cents, from 71.01 US cents on Monday.

* 79.39 Japanese yen, from 78.81

* 61.28 euro cents, from 61.56

* 54.56 British pence, from 55.03

* 108.94 NZ cents, from 108.90

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,195.80 per fine ounce, up from $US1,195.66 per fine ounce on Monday.