ASX sets record of 11 months of gains

Shares have had the most consecutive months of gains in ASX 200 history after the last day of August ensured a streak of 11.

A minor gain on Tuesday helped the index increase by 1.92 per cent for August as investors keep thriving on low interest rates amid the pandemic.

The index has gained 26.52 per cent in the longest monthly streak since the ASX200 was formed in 1992.

Fund managers and experts have credited the run to central banks around the world providing enormous amounts of economic support.

More may yet be needed in countries battling the rampant spread of the coronavirus' Delta strain.

China's factory activity expanded at a slower pace in August, data showed, as virus restrictions and high raw material prices put pressure on businesses.

China's economy had an impressive recovery from a coronavirus-battered slump, but growth has shown signs of easing.

In Australia, calls continue for renewed support for workers while millions of people remain in lockdown.

Economic growth figures for the June quarter are due on Wednesday and have been tipped to be slim.

In the daily trade, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 30.4 points, or 0.41 per cent, to 7534.9.

The All Ordinaries closed up 34.7 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 7823.3.

There was keen appetite for shares in information technology, industrials, consumer staples, property and healthcare.

The major categories of materials and financials were little changed.

The overall increases were helped by Wall Street, where the S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended at fresh record highs.

Energy shares had the greatest fall, 1.44 per cent.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, together known as OPEC+, is due to meet on Wednesday.

Delegates say they expect a production increase to go ahead.

On the local front, Harvey Norman has repaid more than $6 million in federal government JobKeeper wage subsidies following lobbying from critics.

The Gerry Harvey-led group in August returned to taxpayers all of the $6.02 million in wages and support collected since the pandemic began in March last year.

Full-year profit rose to $841 million, boosted by higher property valuations.

Shares were down 3.24 per cent to $5.38.

Mining group IGO improved full-year earnings and sales by three per cent.

The nickel and copper miner's profit was helped by the sale of its Tropicana gold mine.

Shareholders will receive a fully franked final dividend of 10 cents per share.

Shares were up 1.37 per cent to $9.65.

The big iron ore miners were all lower. Fortescue had the biggest loss, 1.5 per cent, after shares surged on Monday following full-year earnings.

The big banks were mixed. NAB was best and gained 0.69 per cent to $27.73.

Investors abandoned biotech Mesoblast after it posted a larger full-year loss of $US98.8 million.

The company is yet to gain US approval for its therapy to treat a rare disease that affects blood cancer patients.

Shares plunged 15.91 per cent to $1.67.

Payment instalments provider Splitit is replacing boss Brad Paterson in what it said was a proactive change of leadership.

Former Macy's chief operations officer John Harper has taken over as interim chief executive.

Splitit will look for a permanent replacement.

Shares were down 1.11 per cent to 44 cents.

The Australian dollar was buying 73.34 US cents at 1726 AEST, higher than 72.94 US cents at Monday's close.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 30.4 points, or 0.41 per cent, to 7534.9 on Tuesday.

* The All Ordinaries closed up 34.7 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 7823.3.

* At 1726 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was down by six points, or 0.08 per cent, to 7471 points.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 73.34 US cents, from 72.94 cents on Friday

* 80.53 Japanese yen, from 80.10 yen

* 62.02 Euro cents, from 61.84 cents

* 53.19 British pence, from 53.03 pence

* 103.86 NZ cents, from 104.28 cents.

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