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ASX ends higher as banks, telcos lift

A turnaround in the banking sector plus gains for mining and telco stocks have boosted the ASX back into positive territory on Monday.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index ended the day up 21.6 points, or 0.35 per cent, to 6,268.9 points, while the All Ordinaries was up 23.2 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 6,381.1 points.

The steadier performance also reflected relief that some political uncertainty had been removed, for at least the near term, by the appointment of former federal treasurer Scott Morrison as Australia's new prime minister, after Malcolm Turnbull was forced to quit last Friday.

Gold stocks were among the top gainers in the resource space, as bullion prices drew support from the US dollar's weakness following comments from US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signalling a gradual approach to interest rate hikes.

The gold index climbed 2.7 per cent, with Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining rising 2.1 per cent to $19.64 and 3.4 per cent to $2.77, respectively.

Material stocks were driven higher by rising commodity prices with BHP and Rio Tinto each up over one per cent.

Shanghai base metal prices mostly rose, extending strong gains seen at the end of last week on the London Metal Exchange.

Financial stocks edged higher albeit in relatively light trade after they were lower earlier in the session.

The fall-and-lift followed closing submissions from the financial services royal commission, released late on Friday, that strongly criticised superannuation funds run by NAB and CBA.

CBA and NAB, two of the so-called 'Big Four" banks, were up 0.4 per cent and 0.3 per cent, respectively, after flirting in the red earlier.

Westpac, which fell more than two per cent on Friday after revealed its interest margins were under pressure from higher costs, closed 0.4 per cent higher.

In companies news, shares in Reliance Worldwide slid 8.4 per cent to $5.66 after the plumbing supplies giant reported a flat full-year profit of $66 million.

Energy and telco services group Amaysim lifted 5.2 per cent after it announced record revenue of $577.6 million, up 77 per cent thanks largely to strong subscriber growth across its energy business.

Telstra also lifted two cents to $3.23, helping the broader telco sector.

The Australian dollar was trading at 73.13 US cents at 1700 AEST, up from 72.84 US cents on Friday.

ON THE ASX:

* The S&P/ASX200 was up 21.6 points, or 0.35 per cent, to 6.268.9 points

* The All Ordinaries was up 23.2 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 6,381.1 points

*In futures trading the SPI200 futures index was up 15 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 6,236 points.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 73.13 US cents, from 72.84 US cents on Friday

* 81.24 Japanese yen, from 81.084

* 63.04 euro cents, from 62.95

* 109.52 British pence, from 56.77

* 109.52 NZ cents, from 109.49

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,204.918 per fine ounce, down from $US1,189.41 per fine ounce on Friday.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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