ASX edges lower even as miners soar

The local share market has edged slightly lower despite a strong start to the week by the mining sector, with BHP and Rio Tinto hitting their highest levels in months.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Monday closed down 11.7 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 7146.3, while the broader All Ordinaries gained one-tenth of a point to 7350.2.

Nine of the ASX's 11 official sectors were in the red, but mining gained 3.4 per cent and energy was up 0.9 per cent.

"In terms of today's market, it's really all about the China reopening story," Tribeca Investment Partners portfolio manager Jun Bei Liu told AAP.

"We've seen commodities rally very very aggressively."

China over the weekend announced a sweeping rescue package to bail out its real estate market, and on Friday eased some of its COVID measures to include shorter quarantine periods.

It all points to a relaxation of China's strict zero-COVID policies, Ms Liu said, "and so we've just seen all the commodity majors rally aggressively."

BHP climbed 4.6 per cent to a five-month high of $44.01, Fortescue Metals soared 10.1 per cent to a two-month high of $19.55, Rio Tinto added 3.3 per cent to a five-month high of $106 and South32 advanced 5.9 per cent to a two-month high of $4.33.

Lithium miners had a solid day, with Piedmont Lithium up 5.9 per cent and Lake advancing 4.9 per cent, but goldminers sagged, with Newcrest down 1.6 per cent and Northern Star dropping 1.0 per cent.

In the energy sector, Woodside advanced 1.5 per cent to $39.06 and Beach grew 1.4 per cent to $1.785 as it agreed to acquire WA gas junior Warrego Energy for $250 million.

The heavyweight financial sector dropped one per cent, with losses for all the big banks.

ANZ fell 1.5 per cent to $24.27, Westpac dropped 1.0 per cent to $23.75, CBA retreated 0.7 per cent to $105.10 and NAB dipped 0.3 per cent to $31.26.

Elders plunged 22.9 per cent to a nearly two-year low of $10.21 as the agribusiness announced that chief executive Mark Allison would retire sometime within the next 12 months.

Flight Centre fell 3.8 per cent to $16.38 after the travel company released half-year guidance under consensus expectations at its annual general meeting.

Telstra had dropped 3.5 per cent to $3.86 after announcing that the executive behind its transformative "agile at scale" strategy, Alex Badenoch, would step down next month.

Some other well-known consumer stocks also performed poorly, with Woolworths down 1.4 per cent, Coles dropping two per cent and Bunnings and KMart owner Wesfarmers retreating 2.1 per cent.

In the tech sector, Nearmap fell 5.8 per cent to $1.95 after the aerial mapping company announced it might lose two major customers worth about $6m amid the highly volatile macro environment.

Meanwhile local currency was at close to a two-month high against its US counterpart.

The Aussie was buying 66.75 US cents, from 66.30 US cents on Friday.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Monday dropped 11.7 194 points to 7146.3, a 0.16 per cent decline.

* The broader All Ordinaries added 0.1 points to 7350.2.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 66.75 US cents, from 64.16 US cents at Friday's close

* 93.08 Japanese yen, from 93.93 yen

* 64.76 Euro cents, from 63.98 euro cents

* 56.80 British pence, from 56.66 pence

* 109.73 NZ cents, from 110.22 NZ cents