ASX charges more than 2% in early trade

Shares have surged by more than 2.0 per cent in early ASX trade, taking the lead from overnight gains on Wall Street due to rising hopes of a coronavirus vaccine.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 133.2 points, or 2.44 per cent, at 5593.7 points after the first 30 minutes of trade on Tuesday.

The All Ordinaries index was 130.7 points, or 2.35 per cent higher, at 5688.2.

Energy companies were among the best performers, with the sector index up a whopping 4.71 per cent, followed by property, which was higher by 3.31 per cent.

Oil Search was up by more than 8.0 per cent to $3.24 after crude oil prices jumped to their highest level in two months.

Santos was higher by more than 5.0 per cent to $5.16.

The materials sector was higher by 3.06 per cent, the industrials sector was up 3.02 per cent, and financials was higher by 2.88 per cent.

Shares in building materials manufacturer James Hardie rose more than 11 per cent to $23.85 after it reported full-year profit rose a steady 6.0 per cent to $US241.5 million.

Betting and gaming giant Tabcorp had a more than 2.0 per cent rise to $3.26.

It said it would not pay a full-year dividend to shareholders amid the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Miners enjoyed gains, with BHP rising more than 4.0 per cent to $34.70, Rio up by more than 4.0 per cent to $94.19 and Fortescue gaining more than 3.0 per cent to $13.73.

South32 climbed more than 5.0 per cent to $1.99 and BlueScope edged up more than 3.0 per cent to $10.43.

Qantas was another company to gain from the market optimism, climbing more than 4.0 per cent to $3.52.

The goldminers were among the few group to lose value as investors opted for riskier stocks.

Northern Star had one of the biggest losses, down more than 2.0 per cent to $14.28.

The rush to buy local stocks was expected after the S&P 500 in the US climbed 3.2 per cent overnight.

Investors responded to US biotech Moderna’s encouraging results from early tests of an experimental vaccine for COVID-19.

Investors also took heart from Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell’s comments at the weekend, when he expressed optimism the US economy could begin to recover from the pandemic in the second half of the year.

The Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday will publish the minutes of this month’s monetary policy meeting.

The Australian dollar was buying 65.46 US cents at 1030 AEST, up from 64.32 US cents at the close of trade on Monday.

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