Aust shares open up about 1%

Shares on the Australian market are off to a good start, with a gain of about 1.0 per cent and most sectors trading higher.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 52.2 points, or 0.97 per cent, at 5457.0 points after the first 15 minutes of trade on Monday.

The All Ordinaries index was 56.3 points, or 1.02 per cent higher, at 5549.1.

Materials was the best performing sector, higher by 3.03 per cent, ahead of energy, up 2.43 per cent.

Financials were down 0.33 per cent and the big four banks were trading lower.

National Australia Bank says its staff are starting to check on customers of about 80,000 home loans who paused repayments to help them through the impact of COVID-19.

Agribusiness and property group Elders has reported half-year net profit after tax of $52 million, up a whopping $52.1 million from the same time last year.

Its acquisition of wholesaler Australian Independent Rural Retailers, which supplies agricultural products and services, was largely responsible.

Shareholder dividend is 9.0 cents per share, fully franked, the same as the previous half-year payment.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics on Monday will release data on the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on households.

More Australians have returned to work this week and cafes, restaurants and pubs have reopened – albeit at reduced capacity – as part of eased coronavirus restrictions.

However, government leaders warn the number of infections will climb as people mingle in greater numbers.

The Australian dollar was buying 64.23 US cents at 1015 AEST, down from 64.62 US cents at the close of trade on Friday.

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