Australian shares recoup losses, end higher on energy boost

Australian shares closed higher on Tuesday, boosted by energy stocks, although gains were capped by weakness in global markets over fears of a potential debt default by China Evergrande Group.

The S&P/ASX 200 index, which dropped as much as 0.8% during the session, closed 0.4% higher at 7,273.8. The benchmark index had dropped more than 2% on Monday to record its worst day in seven months.

Energy stocks added nearly 1.5% – their best session in a week – as oil prices jumped on signs of U.S. supply tightness.

Major oil and gas explorer Santos Ltd advanced 1.1%, while peer Woodside Petroleum closed 1.7% higher.

Heavyweight miners snapped a four-day losing streak and rose 0.3%, with world’s largest miner BHP Group Ltd adding 0.6%.

Gold stocks, which fell in the last three sessions, gained even after bullion prices weakened.

Keeping gains in check were global worries that the impact of indebted developer China Evergrande could ripple across the world economy and markets.

Back home, the Australian central bank is concerned that the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant could slow the economy’s recovery once lockdowns ease, although it still expects strong growth to resume next year.

AusNet Services Ltd soared nearly 10% to hit a record high, while APA Group touched an 18-month low.

APA Group made a revised bid of A$9.96 billion ($7.22 billion) for AusNet, intensifying a battle with Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management to acquire the energy infrastructure firm.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed flat at 13,176.94.