Australian shares edged slightly higher on Monday, tracking US stocks as a rise in oil prices to their highest in more than two years helped the market weather Australia’s political malaise.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 13.743 points to 5,916.90 by 100 GMT. The benchmark fell 0.2 per cent on Friday, reports Reuters.
Financials pushed the index up the most, rising as much as 0.3 per cent as banking stocks took in the outcomes of a regulatory investigation into the rigging of the bank bill swap reference rate (BBSW).
Westpac Banking Corp, the country’s No. 2 lender is the only bank named in the case yet to decide whether to settle with the regulator after National Australia Bank and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, which were up 0.1 per cent and 0.7 per cent, respectively, did so before Monday’s deadline.
Oil explorer Beach Energy gained as much as 3.1 per cent, the biggest driver of the main index, while the energy index reached its highest since August 2015, helped by Woodside’s 1.8 per cent gain.
Brent crude futures rose 0.3 per cent as Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reiterated on Saturday the kingdom’s readiness to support a production cut ahead of a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC producers on Nov. 30 to set oil policy.
BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto slipped 0.2 per cent each on weaker prices for iron ore in key market China. Iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange slumped 5.6 per cent on Friday, reflecting steel mills cutting output to comply with winter anti-pollution regulations.
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