The Australian share market has finished marginally higher as gains by oil companies and goldminers outweighed declines elsewhere in the wake of a drone attack on two Saudi Arabian oil facilities.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed on Monday up 4.3 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 6,673.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries finished up 4.9 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 6,782 points.
The market opened lower and “has just been steadily eating away at the losses,” observed CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian, ending slightly up for its fourth straight day of gains.
The energy sector surged by 4.0 per cent following the drone attack, as the price of Brent crude jumped $US6 to about $US66 a gallon.
Oil Search gained 6.5 per cent to $7.73, Beach Energy was up 6.0 per cent, Santo gained 4.9 per cent to $7.75 and Woodside Petroleum gained 4.3 per cent to $32.70.
Mining giant BHP – also a major petroleum producer – gained 3.2 per cent to $38.30.
Goldminers also surged as the price of the precious metal rose $US16 to around $US1505 an ounce, with Evolution, Northern Star and Newcrest up between 3.3 and 6.0 per cent.
Diversified mining company Rio Tinto was up 0.9 per cent to $94.11, while iron ore giant Fortescue Metals gained 0.4 per cent to $9.01.
Consumer staples also rose, with Bellamy’s lifting the sector as the infant formula maker urged shareholders to accept a $1.5 billion takeover bid from a Chinese dairy company.
Bellamy’s shares soared 54.9 per cent to $12.89 following the China Mengniu Dairy Company’s $13.25 cash-per-share buyout offer.
Other China-facing companies rose following the takeover offer, with Blackmores shares rising 9.4 per cent, A2 Milk gaining 4.0 per cent and Bubs Australia up 1.7 per cent.
The gains came even as a “data dump” from China on Monday afternoon showed the country’s economy had kept slowing, with industrial production at its lowest levels since 2002.
Despite the modest overall gains it was a down day in eight of the 11 sectors of the ASX, with industrials falling the most, by 1.5 per cent.
Qantas, whose biggest cost is fuel, dropped 4.5 per cent to $6.11.
Sims Metals dropped 13.3 per cent to a three-week low of $10.90 after the global metals and electronics recycler warned that the US-China trade war and falling demand for cars would hurt its first-half results.
All the big banks were lower, with ANZ dropping 0.9 per cent to $27.60, Westpac down 0.5 per cent to $29.54, Commonwealth down 0.6 per cent to $81.69 and NAB down 0.1 per cent to $29.13.
AP Eagers rose 4.5 per cent to $13.90 after it succeeded in acquiring more than 90 per cent of shares in rival car dealer Automotive Holding Group, a threshold that will let it compulsorily acquire the remaining AHG shares.
The Australian dollar was trading at 68.73 cents, from 68.74 on Friday.
Looking forward, Australian jobs data for August will be released on Thursday, and the central banks for the US, Japan and the United Kingdom have key meetings this week.
ON THE ASX
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 4.3 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 6,673.5 points.
* The All Ordinaries closed up 4.9 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 6,782 points.
* The SPI200 futures index closed up three points, or 0.04 per cent, to 6,677.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST
One Australian dollar buys:
* 68.73 US cents, from 68.74 US cents on Friday
* 74.16 Japanese yen, from 74.34 yen
* 62.08 euro cents, from 64.49 euro cents
* 55.18 British pence, from 55.40 pence
* 107.66 NZ cents, from 107.29 cents.