The S&P/ASX 200 index ended up 0.08% at 7,412.4, hitting its highest since mid-January. The benchmark index closed up 0.3% on Friday.
Miners climbed 1.4% in their third consecutive session of gains, helped by a rise in iron ore prices following China’s decision to increase its injection of short-term funds to meet any restriction of market liquidity.
Sector majors Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group climbed 1.4% and 0.8% respectively, while BHP Global gained 2.3%, hitting its highest since mid-August 2021.
Financials rose 0.6%, supported by gains from the “big four” banks. Westpac Banking Corp rose 1.2% to its highest level in around five months, while National Australia Bank gained nearly 1% to its highest level since November 2021.
“The market is rife with speculation that the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) may raise interest rates by mid-year on the back of potential consumer price and wage increases in the next round of economic data,” said Kunal Sawhney, CEO of Kalkine. Group.
Expectations of higher rates dulled the appeal of growth-linked stocks, with the technology sub-index losing 2.7% to its lowest level in around 10 days.
Australian shares of Block Inc fell 3.7%, while accounting software provider Xero Ltd lost 5.2%.
Gold stocks ended down 0.7% after gaining more than 1% during the session, marking their first session decline in three. Bullion prices fell as the US dollar and Treasury yields firmed.
Newcrest Mining, Australia’s largest gold producer, lost 0.2%, while Evolution Mining lost more than 2.4%.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended down 1.2% at 11,909.7.