ASX lifts after oil prices rise

Investors have helped Australian stocks into positive territory in early market trading after a rise in world oil prices overnight.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was up 47.9 points, or 0.92 per cent, to 5269.1 points after the first 15 minutes of trade on Thursday.

The All Ordinaries index was 50.7 points higher, or 0.96 per cent, to 5,234.5 points.

Most industry sectors were trading higher. Energy and materials were up by more than a 2.0 per cent average.

BHP was a good early performer. Its price was up 2.97 per cent to $29.83.

The world economy remains ravaged by travel restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, although there was a sign of hope for oil traders overnight.

US crude and benchmark Brent prices climbed after a collapse in the past two days, sending the S&P 500 energy index up 3.6 per cent.

The Australian dollar was buying 62.98 US cents at 1015 AEST, down from 63.31 US cents at Wednesday’s close.

In Australian data on Thursday, the Bureau of Statistics will publish its estimate of the March trade balance.

Experts have tipped exports and imports to be lower due to coronavirus travel restrictions and trade disruptions, although exports will be helped by iron ore shipments.

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