By Oliver Gray
Investing.com - The S&P/ASX 200 was 20.20 points or 0.27% higher at 7,382.20 in Monday trade, following gains of 0.62% last week as market participants proved optimistic amid surging commodity prices, while strong corporate earnings and retail sales data in the U.S. also bolstered risk appetite.
ASX 200 Futures were also little changed at 7355.5.
In coronavirus news, Victoria tallied 1903 new cases today as Melbourne and parts of regional Victoria remain set to lift lockdown restrictions on Thursday when the state is expected to reach its 70% vaccination target, while New South Wales added 265 cases as Premier Dominic Perrottet declared the return of schools across the state. Meantime, Tasmania Premier Peter Gutwein announced that the state will end its three-day snap lockdown tonight, after no new cases were reported.
Among stocks, energy companies were lifted as crude oil traded at 7-year highs, with Santos Ltd (ASX: STO ) up 1.36%, Oil Search Ltd (ASX: OSH ) up 1.11% and Woodside Petroleum Ltd (ASX: WPL ) up 1%. However, technology names were weaker with Afterpay Touch Group Ltd (ASX: APT ) down 1.02%, Appen Ltd (ASX: APX ) losing 1.24% and Xero Ltd (ASX: XRO ) down 0.86%. Miners traded mixed as iron ore prices eased, with Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO ) up 0.44%, while BHP Billiton Ltd (ASX: BHP ) and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX: FMG ) lost 0.44% and 0.55% respectively.
Later in the week, market participants will be closely monitoring the Reserve Bank of Australia’s September meeting minutes .
In New Zealand, the NZX 50 lost 20.75 points or 0.16% to 12991.44.
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