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Banks, energy boost ASX in early trade

The Australian share market has rallied after posting losses for the past three sessions, with gains in heavyweight energy and financial stocks helping settle investors’ nerves.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 93.5 points, or 1.43 per cent, at 6,633.4 at 1200 AEST on Monday.

The broader All Ordinaries rose 95.9 points, or 1.43 per cent, to 6,816.3.

Local investors took the cue from a solid session on Wall Street on Friday that saw all the three main indices end higher ahead of a long weekend. The US market will be closed on Monday for the July 4 public holiday.

The heavyweight financial sector led the gains, with each of the Big Four banks trading 1.8-2.3 per cent higher.

Sentiment in the sector remains steady ahead of a Reserve Bank board meeting on Tuesday where economists expect the central bank to raise rates by another 50 basis points as it seeks to cap runaway inflation.

Energy stocks were lifted by a 2 per cent rise in oil prices over the weekend amid supply concerns. Sector leaders Woodside and Santos were up around 3 per cent each, while Beach Energy rose 1.5 per cent.

Mining shares remained mixed. While top miner BHP was down 0.8 per cent at $39.72, Rio Tinto and Fortescue metals were up around 1 per cent each.

Gold producers were also having a strong session with Newcrest, Northern Star, and Evolution recording gains between 1.5-3 per cent.

The healthcare sector further boosted the market with Resmed, CSL and Ansell up between 1 per cent and 3 per cent.

On the negative side, Magellan Financial was down more than 5 per cent after on reports that a top sales executive would be departing the company.

Shares in Link Administration also fell 1.6 per cent to $3.74 after the company declined to recommend a lowered takeover bid by Canada’s Dye & Durham Ltd to shareholders.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar was buying 68.10 US cents at 1200 AEST, from 68.13 US cents at Friday’s close.

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