ASX up for third day, eyes key 7000 level

The local share market has edged higher after a day of choppy trading, with gains for the commodity players outweighing losses by the property and tech sectors.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Wednesday finished up 9.8 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 6986.7, with the index crossing above the 7000 level no fewer than seven times during the course of the day.

The broader All Ordinaries closed up 8.2 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 7177.8.

It was the third straight day of gains for market, and its seventh winning session out of the past eight.

"I think the market is taking a more cautious sentiment today," said IG Market analyst Hebe Chen.

"After the RBA hiked interest rates yesterday, we can say that uncertainty has been resolved, and we have a more clear idea of what the RBA is moving towards for the end of the year."

But on the other hand, the US Federal Reserve will hand down its own decision on interest rates at 5am AEDT on Thursday.

The US central bank has carefully telegraphed its rate hikes, and there appears almost no chance it will deviate from a 75 basis point hike. But traders will be carefully watching its forward guidance for clues on what the Fed will do in the months to come.

"We still have a market that has been enjoying substantial gains from October, that's primarily from the expectation that the Fed will soften its pace (of rate hikes) in December," Ms Chen told AAP.

"So the market will be super surprised if the Fed takes a ultra-hawkish pace at their meeting tomorrow, and that would definitely be showing in the price action of the market. For investors, it's sensible to take a more cautious move because we don't know what's going to happen tomorrow."

The ASX's 11 official sectors were mixed on Wednesday, with five climbing and six falling.

Energy and mining were the biggest gainers, both collectively climbing 1.1 per cent as the US dollar weakened.

BHP gained 2.1 per cent to $39.24, Rio Tinto added 2.4 per cent to $92.63 and Fortescue Metals added 1.5 per cent to $15.73.

In the energy sector, Woodside was up 1.2 per cent to $37.25, Santos climbed 0.8 per cent to $7.91 and Beach Energy was up 0.9 per cent to $1.65.

Whitehaven Coal added 4.2 per cent to $9.53, Stanmore Resources gained 8.7 per cent to $2.99 and New Hope and Yancoal both gained about two per cent.

The interest-rate-sensitive real estate sector was the worst laggard, falling 1.7 per cent after the Reserve Bank raised rates again on Tuesday.

Stockland was down 2.8 per cent, office tower owner Dexus fell 2.3 per cent and Charter Hall dropped 1.9 per cent.

Goodman Group lost 3.1 per cent to $17.11 even as the warehouse owner reaffirmed guidance and said construction cost inflation appeared to be moderating.

The heavyweight financial sector edged higher, with Westpac gaining 0.8 per cent to $24.50, and the other three big banks little changed.

CBA dipped 0.1 per cent to $105.97, while ANZ and NAB both added 0.1 per cent to $25.98 and $32.74, respectively.

Macquarie fell 1.8 per cent to $168.88.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Tuesday gained 113.4 points to 6976.9, a 1.65 per cent rise.

* The broader All Ordinaries climbed 114.8 points, or 1.63 per cent, to 7169.6.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 64.18 US cents, from 64.18 US cents at Tuesday's close

* 95.14 Japanese yen, from 95.14 yen

* 64.84 Euro cents, from 64.84 Euro cents

* 55.81 British pence, from 55.81 pence

* 109.65 NZ cents, from 109.65 NZ cents.

The Australian dollar was buying 64.20 US cents, unchanged from Tuesday's close.