ASX inches up as banks, energy higher

Banks and energy companies are keeping the Australian share market indexes higher – albeit marginally – in early trade.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 6.2 points, or 0.12 per cent, at 5319.3 points after the first 15 minutes of trade on Wednesday.

The All Ordinaries index was 6.5 points higher, or 0.12 per cent, at 5387.7 points.

The financial and energy sectors were the leading gainers, with sectoral indexes higher by 1.91 and 1.68 per cent respectively.

Most other sectors were trading in negative territory. Consumer staples and healthcare were the biggest drags, down 1.96 and 1.74 per cent respectively.

Gold miners are not doing well, with Northern Star and Evolution MIning each down by more than 3 per cent.

Meanwhile, Consumer Price Index data to be released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics is expected to show a headline rise of 0.2 per cent for Q1 – down from 0.7 per cent growth in the December quarter.

However economists are tipping the stronger inflation print to be short-lived as coronavirus-related supply and demand shocks filter through, most notably a decline in holiday travel, fuel prices, house prices and rents.

The major US indices fell overnight with investors shifting their money to smaller stocks that stand to benefit more from the easing of coronavirus pandemic restrictions as US states try to restart the economy.

One Australian dollar buys 65.09 US cents at 1015 AEST, up from 64.82 US cents at Tuesday’s close.

The price of gold is $US1,706.60 an ounce.

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