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ASX at record closing level after rally

·4-min read

Investors have pushed shares to a record closing level on the ASX, helped by elevated commodity prices.

Energy and materials shares rose by more than two per cent, leading a broad-based market rally of more than one per cent.

Market giant BHP had a ripping day.

The miner will supply nickel from Western Australia for batteries to be used in Tesla electric cars.

While the undisclosed value of the deal was not high enough to be published to the ASX, investors did not care.

They helped BHP shares close higher by 3.13 per cent to $51.45, just shy of the record price ($51.91).

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 77.7 points, or 1.06 per cent, to 7386.4 on Thursday.

The previous record close was 7386.1.

The All Ordinaries closed up 78 points, or 1.03 per cent, to 7658.9.

The gains in energy shares were aided by world oil prices rising by more than four per cent overnight.

Oil analysts cited a world inventory decline, despite concerns the coronavirus Delta variant may spoil demand.

Beach Energy climbed almost five per cent to $1.27.

Woodside jumped 3.2 per cent to $22.58.

A strong US lead also helped enthusiasm for Aussie shares.

There were more impressive earnings reports.

Coca-Cola stocks rose after the company raised its full-year forecast.

The three major US indices closed within one per cent of record closing highs.

In Australia, the national goods trade surplus hit a new peak due to demand for iron ore.

Increased exports of metalliferous ores, coal, non-monetary gold and gas helped the surplus of $13.3 billion for June.

The July surplus is set to be much lower as about half the nation's population endures coronavirus lockdown.

Iron ore prices dipped overnight but remain at about $US200 per tonne.

Like BHP, Rio Tinto has benefited from soaring prices and shares gained 1.22 per cent to $127.41.

Iron ore specialist Fortescue did not follow the script. Shares lost 0.4 per cent to $25.19.

A big mover was Lynas Rare Earths, which won a $14.8 million government grant.

Lynas will commercialise a carbonate refining process.

The company aims to supply a proposed US rare earth processing plant.

Shares closed up 9.01 per cent to $6.41.

AGL will give investors a say on reducing carbon emissions, although their votes will carry little weight.

AGL said investors next year will have voting rights on its efforts to meet emissions targets.

The company will use the `say on climate' voting model which fellow ASX companies Oil Search, Rio Tinto, Santos and Woodside this year adopted.

Shares in the energy provider closed up 0.88 per cent to $7.98.

Gold miner Northern Star has sold some of its operations near Kalgoorlie in Western Australia to rival Evolution.

The $400 million sale is for the Kundana operations, majority stakes in two Kundana joint ventures, and the Carbine gold project.

Northern Star said the proceeds would be invested in growth projects.

Shares gained 5.39 per cent to $10.79.

Evolution shares were in a trading halt and last swapped for $4.07.

Another energy provider doing well was Santos.

The company raised its full-year production guidance and mostly met market expectations of its second-quarter results.

Shares closed up 2.59 per cent to $6.74.

Financial shares improved throughout trade and closed higher by more than one per cent.

The Commonwealth Bank and Macquarie Group were among the best of the big ones.

They gained 1.48 per cent and closed at $99.88 and $157.47 respectively.

The Australian dollar was buying 73.76 US cents at 1723 AEST, up from 72.98 US cents at Wednesday's close.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 77.7 points, or 1.06 per cent, to 7386.4 on Thursday.

* The All Ordinaries closed up 78 points, or 1.03 per cent, to 7658.9.

* At 1723 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was higher by six points, or 0.08 per cent, at 7301 points.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 73.76 US cents, from 72.98 cents on Wednesday

* 81.29 Japanese yen, from 80.19 yen

* 62.51 Euro cents, from 62.02 cents

* 53.64 British pence, from 53.64 pence

* 105.87 NZ cents, from 105.71 cents.

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