Share market rises on polls showing Britain likely to reject Brexit

The share market has had a strong start to the week, as investors welcomed polls suggesting Britain would vote to remain in the European Union.

The ASX 200 index gained 94 points to finish on 5,257 and the All Ordinaries Index jumped by 1.7 per cent to close at 5,336.

Energy shares led the way after oil prices ended their run of losses and the oil and gas producer Santos jumped by 9.6 per cent to $4.70.

In mining stocks, Rio Tinto suspended work at one of its iron ore mines in Western Australia after the death of a maintenance worker.

The mining giant said it was supporting the family and colleagues of the man, who was fatally injured while working on a drill rig at the Channar mine.

Rio shares closed 3.2 per cent higher at $44.79.

Elsewhere in the sector, gold miners took a hit from a fall in gold prices — Newcrest Mining dropped 2.5 per cent to $21.85.

Grocery retailers were also in focus as IGA supermarkets owner Metcash announced a return to profit for the year.

Metcash has posted a full-year net profit of $216.5 million for the 12 months to April, after a loss of nearly $400 million the year before.

The wholesaler also plans to start paying dividends again.

Metcash shares initially rose on the news but then retreated, slumping by 12.5 per cent to $1.86 as investors assessed the results.

Rival Woolworths gained 1.8 per cent and Wesfarmers, which owns Coles, finished 2 per cent higher.

Embattled online surf shop Surfstitch dropped 6.4 per cent to close at 22 cents after it announced plans to axe around 40 jobs in the United States.

It said the job cuts were part of its bid to return to profitability.

The dollar crept above 74.5 US cents as risk appetite rises on signs Britain will vote to stay in the EU.

At 5:00pm AEST it was also buying 65.6 euro cents, 78 Japanese yen and 51 British pence.

In commodities, oil prices were higher with Brent crude gaining more than 1 per cent to $US49.70 a barrel, while spot gold was more than 1 per cent lower at around $US1,285 an ounce.

Source: ABC News

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