Australian Shares Trade Higher Ahead of RBA

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Australian Shares Trade Higher Ahead of RBA
Credit: © Reuters.

By Oliver Gray

Investing.com - The ASX 200 added 31.20 points or 0.43% to 7,276.30 in Tuesday’s trade, extending gains for the third consecutive session ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s interest rate decision , while investors proved optimistic on travel-related stocks as fears about the omicron variant of COVID-19 eased after the U.S. chief health adviser Anthony Fauci reported "encouraging" early data.

ASX 200 Futures were trading 0.38% lower.

Among stocks, travel companies gained, with Qantas Airways Ltd (ASX: QAN ) up 4.22%, Flight Centre Ltd (ASX: FLT ) adding 5.1%, Webjet Ltd (ASX: WEB ) up 3.67% and Sydney Airport Holdings Ltd (ASX: SYD ) gaining 0.54%. Big banks also lifted on reopening hopes and higher long term bond yields, with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ASX: ANZ ) up 0.89%, National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB ) adding 0.68% and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC ) up 0.82%.

Mining heavyweights fell amid heavy trading, as Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO ) lost 0.95%, BHP Billiton Ltd (ASX: BHP ) fell 0.45% and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX: FMG ) lost 0.87%. Lynas Rare Earths Ltd (ASX: LYC ) dropped 0.22% after chief executive Amanda Lacaze sold 200,000 shares.

Energy companies also lifted on higher Crude Oil prices, with Woodside Petroleum Ltd (ASX: WPL ) up 0.93%, Santos Ltd (ASX: STO ) adding 1.24%, and Beach Energy Ltd (ASX: BPT ) up 3.16%. Oil Search Ltd (ASX: OSH ) also lifted 2.52% as the companies’ $A21 billion merger with Santos is set to get the sign-off from shareholders in the Papua New Guinea oil and gas producer today.

On the bond markets, Australia 10-Year rates were at 1.601% while United States 10-Year yields were at 1.431%.

Meantime, economists expect the Reserve Bank to hold rates at 0.1%  today ahead of a two-month break before its February meeting where its emergency bond buying program at $A4 billion per week is expected to come up for review.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 was 0.45% higher at 12,655.

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