Four-day winning streak for Aussie stocks

The local share market has climbed for a fourth straight day on signs that US inflation is easing, although the rally faded a bit in the afternoon.

After being up as much one per cent around midday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index lost steam to finish up 41.7 points, or 0.59 per cent, to a two-week high of 7151.3.

The broader All Ordinaries gained 47 points, or 0.64 per cent, to 7355.8.

"We've quite a decent start to January so far," said CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian. "We did fade from that midday high, but that winning streak remains intact."

The gains follow Friday's rally on Wall Street, with the S&P500 jumping 2.3 per cent following word that US wage growth in December moderated, a possible sign of easing inflation.

Investors took it as an indication that the Federal Reserve might further moderate its campaign of rate hikes, and only raise them by 25 basis points instead of 50 at months-end.

"It seemed to reassure markets that the rate hikes we've had in the US, 4.25 per cent worth, 425 basis points worth, are starting to have an impact on slowing the economy, which is what they want," Mr Daghlian said.

Mr Daghlian told AAP that the next potential catalyst for markets will be the December consumer price index report in the US, which will be released on Friday just after midnight, Sydney time.

"I guess the question is, how significant that slowdown (in consumer price increases) will be," he said. "Obviously inflation is still going to be very to be very hot still, but is it going to be lower than what the consensus is pointing to?"

The ASX will also likely take some cues from the kickoff of US fourth-quarter earnings season late this week, he added.

Eight of the 11 official sectors of the ASX finished higher on Monday, with utilities flat and tech and healthcare lower.

The energy sector was the biggest gainer, rising 1.4 per cent as oil prices recovered a bit on a weaker US dollar. Brent futures were changing hands for $US79.60 a barrel, up from under $75 last week.

Woodside finished up 1.2 per cent to $35.04, Santos climbed 1.3 per cent to $7.11 and Viva Energy added 2.7 per cent to $2.66. Coalminers were also up strongly, with New Hope gaining 3.2 per cent.

The heavyweight mining sector added one per cent, with BHP up by the same amount at an 18-month high of $48 while Fortescue and Rio Tinto lost ground.

The former fell 0.8 per cent to $21.63 after announcing the resignation of chief financial officer Ian Wells, while Rio dipped 0.7 per cent to $118.78.

Goldminers Newcrest, Evolution and Northern Star were up between 1.7 and 2.8 per cent as the price of the precious metal looked to break $US1,880 an ounce for the first time since May.

The big banks were mostly higher, with NAB the best performer, adding 0.8 per cent to $30. ANZ was up 0.2 per cent to $23.72 and CBA finished up 0.1 per cent to $103.32, while Westpac edged 0.1 per cent lower at $23.37.

IAG fell 0.4 per cent and QBE declined 1.1 per cent after the former said it was having to pay more for reinsurance from its global partners.

"Global reinsurance has become more challenging over the past year due to the impact of capital market and Australian and international natural peril events," said IAG chief financial officer Michelle McPherson.

In tech, Computershare fell 5.5 per cent to a four-month low of $24.25 on a broker downgrade. Mr Daghlian said that interest rates peaking earlier than expected would be a negative for the financial services company, which earns interest on the billions it holds temporarily for clients.

The Australian dollar, meanwhile, was changing hands for 69.38 US cents, its highest level since August. The Aussie was buying just 67.60 US cents at Friday's ASX close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed Monday up 41.7 points, or 0.59 per cent, to 7151.3.

* The broader All Ordinaries gained 47 points, or 0.64 per cent, to 7355.8.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 69.38 US cents, from 67.66 US cents at Friday's ASX close

* 91.42 Japanese yen, from 90.67 Japanese yen

* 64.95 Euro cents, from 64.33 Euro cents

* 57.10 British pence, from 56.79 pence

* 108.39 NZ cents, from 108.51 NZ cents.