Aust stocks close at best level since June

The local share market has finished at its best level in nearly six months, thanks in part to a strong performance by the energy sector, as well as gains by the major miners.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Tuesday closed up 42 points to 7181.3, a rise of 0.59 per cent and its best finish since June 6.

The broader All Ordinaries was up 41.3 points to 7376.4, a rise of 0.56 per cent.

"Suddenly, the confidence of the market is picking up quite well," Lucinda Chan, division director at Macquarie Private Wealth, told AAP.

"Who knows what will happen next. It all depends very much on the RBA and the Federal Reserve, at the end of the day, how much more they going to keep rates rising. I think we'll have to wait and see, but the market looks quite confident."

The commodity sectors were the stronger performers on Tuesday, with energy up 2.6 per cent and the materials sector gaining 1.2 per cent.

Woodside gained 2.9 per cent to $38.43, and Santos rose 2.2 per cent to $7.47.

Coalminers had an even better day, with Whitehaven Coal adding 7.8 per cent to $9.11, New Hope up 7.3 per cent to $5.77, and Yancoal growing 7.0 per cent to $5.22.

In the mining sector, BHP added 1.2 per cent to $43.48, Rio Tinto gained 1.0 per cent to $105, and Mineral Resources climbed 2.8 per cent to an all-time high of $85.33.

But Fortescue Metals was basically flat at $19.20 as executive chairman Andrew Forrest unveiled a plan to link executive bonuses to emission reduction targets.

"We will not ignore the heating climate at the boardroom table," he told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting in Perth.

BlueScope Steel, which also was holding its AGM on Tuesday, added 4.8 per cent to $16.93 as executives confirmed its guidance of first-half earnings of $800 million to $900 million.

"We are now setting ourselves up for the next decade," managing director and chief executive Mark Vassella told shareholders.

In the financial sector, the big banks were mixed, with Commonwealth up 0.9 per cent to a six-month high of $107.50, and NAB up 0.5 per cent to $30.97.

However, Westpac was down 0.1 per cent to $23.94, and ANZ dropped 0.4 per cent to $24.67.

Macquarie fell 0.9 per cent to $176, and Virgin Money UK soared 10.6 per cent to $2.81, possibly on word that BlackRock had become a substantial shareholder with a five per cent stake.

In tech, Technology One was up 5.1 per cent to $12.98 as the enterprise software company delivered a $112.3 million full-year profit before tax, up 15 per cent from last year and at the top end of guidance.

Star Entertainment dropped 1.4 per cent to $2.88 as newly appointed managing director Robbie Cooke talked of accountability, honesty and transparency at the casino operator's annual general meeting after a string of scandals.

The company received a "first strike" warning after nearly 30 per cent of shareholders voted against its renumeration's report. If more than 25 per cent vote against it again next year, it will trigger a possible board spill.

The Australian dollar was buying 66.18 US cents, from 66.50 US cents at Monday's ASX close.

In cryptocurrency, Bitcoin had dropped nearly three per cent to a two-year low of $US15,750 ($A23,795) as turmoil from the collapse of crypto exchange FTX a week and a half ago continued.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 42 points, or 0.59 per cent higher, at 7181.3.

* The broader All Ordinaries ended up 41.3 points, or 0.56 per cent, at 7376.4.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 66.50 US cents, from 66.50 US cents at Monday's close

* 93.79 Japanese yen, from 93.44 Japanese yen

* 64.48 Euro cents, from 64.67 Euro cents

* 55.81 British pence, from 56.18 British pence

* 108.07 NZ cents, from 108.45 NZ cents