Dollar above 79 US cents, ASX steady | Ralph-Lauren

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Shares on the Australian market are little changed but the dollar continues to climb, helped by rising commodities prices.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was lower by 3.2 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 6777.7 at 1200 AEDT on Tuesday.

The All Ordinaries was lower by 10.6 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 7051.0.

Energy was well ahead of all sectors and better by 3.97 per cent.

Oil prices rose nearly four per cent, boosted by the expected slow return of US crude output after last week’s deep freeze in Texas shut production.

The materials sector was next best, higher by 1.02 per cent. Copper prices remained higher than $US9000 per tonne.

The demand for commodities has helped interest in the Aussie dollar, which bought 79.30 US cents at 0630 AEDT.

In the US, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed lower as climbing bond yields and prospects of rising inflation triggered valuation concerns, hitting shares of high-flying growth companies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended higher by 0.09 per cent to 31,521.69, the S&P 500 lost 0.77 per cent to 3,876.5 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.46 per cent to 13,533.05.

US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday and investors are expected to look for any changes to the central bank’s outlook.

On the ASX, former Commonwealth Bank boss Ian Narev will take the helm of jobs website Seek, with chief executive Andrew Bassat moving to a new role.

Seek said Mr Narev, who has led its Asia Pacific and Americas operations for two years, will take the top job on July 1.

Mr Bassat, who co-founded the company, will take on the full-time role of executive chairman and chief executive of Seek Investments.

He will remain a director.

The company reported an eight per cent dip in first-half net profit after tax to $69.7 million.

Shareholders will not receive an interim dividend.

Shares were down 5.33 per cent to $28.72.

The Bank of Queensland was 9.47 per cent higher to $8.94 after it said it sold $673 million in shares to help buy Members Equity Bank.

The latter on Monday confirmed support for the $1.325 billion takeover.

Among other major banks, ANZ slipped 0.37 per cent to $26.40, the Commonwealth increased 0.34 per cent to $82.18, NAB shed 0.32 per cent to $24.49 and Westpac was up 0.33 per cent to $23.80.

In the booming energy sector, Oil Search gained 7.4 per cent to $4.35 despite a 93 per cent loss in full-year earnings.

The company’s net profit after tax of $US22 million was due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

In mining, BHP gained 1.79 per cent to $49.78, Fortescue lost 0.72 per cent to $24.56 and Rio Tinto was up 1.04 per cent to $129.08.

The Australian dollar was buying 79.20 US cents at 1200 AEDT, higher from 78.82 US cents at Monday’s close.

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