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Mining and energy giants have lifted the ASX to its highest point in over three months despite a choppy overnight session on Wall Street.

The S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 45 points or 0.6 per cent to 7569 points by mid-session, shrugging off soft leads from the US market.

Rio Tinto and Macquarie Group were leading the charge among the market heavyweights, up 2.69 per cent and 2.45 per cent, respectively. Only three out of 11 market sectors were red at the midpoint of the trading day.

What’s driving the market

Uncertainty around the impact China’s zero-Covid policy will have on the country’s economy continues to underpin market movements, with an anticipated downturn in demand for commodities from China sending global prices higher.

Crude oil futures further extended their gains after a four-day rally as geopolitical tensions in many parts of the world continued to threaten supply. With a major release of oil reserves from the US now largely priced in, prices have steadily increased on the growing possibility of an EU-wide ban on Russian oil imports.

“Crude oil prices extended recent gains to $114/barrel, with the supply backdrop continuing to deteriorate,” ANZ Research analysts Brian Martin and Daniel Hynes said.

“Last week, the IEA warned Russia production could drop by 1.5 million barrels per day in April, as tougher sanctions could make it difficult [to] find buyers.”

Meanwhile, tribal leaders in southern Libya have forced the country’s National Oil Corp to close its largest oilfeld and declare a force majeure as a bitter standoff between two rival governments intensifies.

“Libya’s oil output disruption added a further bullish tinge to an already undersupplied market,” Mr Martin and Mr Hynes said.

“This has outweighed some of the rising demand concerns due to lockdowns in China.”

While it’s certainly not been anything of a special day for other commodities, the ASX had four days of prices to factor in following its closure over the Easter long weekend.

Gold dipped 0.38 per cent to US$1979 per ounce and silver declined 0.63 per cent to US$25.97 per ounce.

Going up

The energy sector was the top performer by mid-session, with the ASX 200 Energy Index up 1.36 per cent.

Woodside gained 2.1 per cent, Santos gained 1.34 per cent, and Beach Energy climbed 4.06 per cent.

Close behind was the materials sector, up 1.24 per cent.

BHP helped carry the mining giants, up 1.7 per cent, with Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals up 1.64 per cent. Gold miner Newcrest was up 1.55 per cent.

As for our big banks, Westpac led the pack with a 1.08 per cent gain, while ANZ gained 1.2 per cent, NAB 0.96 per cent, and Commonwealth Bank 0.63 per cent.

Looking at the junior end of the market, exploration company Aruma Resources turned heads when shares surged 32 per cent to 18 cents each despite the company having announced no significant news for nearly a month.

Aruma called a trading halt just before midday following a speeding ticket from the ASX. The company will release an announcement to investors explaining the sudden price hike before the start of Thursday’s trading session.

Going down

AMP was up and down all day after confirming it was in talks with Dexus and other parties to potentially offload its real estate and infrastructure arm. By mid-session, AMP was putting a slight damper on the otherwise-green financials sector and trading lower by 0.47 per cent.

It’s been a tough day for tech plays, however, with the sector down by 1.3 per cent.

Most of the tech heavyweights were firmly in the red, with Xero down 3.39 per cent, WiseTech down 1.85 per cent, and Block down 3.61 per cent. Computershare was outperforming the sector, up 2.55 per cent.

The health care industry also took some of the shine off of the trading session, down 0.77 per cent at mid-session.

Other markets

Asian markets were largely trading red, with the exception of Japan’s Nikkei 225, which was up 31 points or 0.12 per cent to 26,831 points.

The Asia Dow was down 0.7 per cent to 3444 points, the Hang Seng was down 2.43 per cent to 20,994 points, and the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.08 per cent to 3193 points.

S&P 500 futures were up 13 points or 0.3 per cent.

The Aussie dollar rose 0.06 per cent to 73.61 US cents.

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