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[WELLINGTON] Australian shares leapt on Monday, gaining 1.7 per cent by lunchtime, while New Zealand stocks also tracked global markets higher, boosted by a much-larger-than-expected jump in US job growth.
The S&P/ASX 200 index added 91.06 points to 5,321.6 by 0206 GMT. The rally follows solid gains on Wall Street on Friday, when the benchmark S&P 500 touched all-time highs after the job report.
All sectors posted gains, as Australian shares tracked back towards their pre-Brexit high of 5,325.4 points. "The bulls have been proactive this morning, particularly within materials and energy after overnight commodity strength," said Gary Huxtable, client adviser at broker and advisory firm Atlantic Pacific Securities.
"We're also seeing some bargain hunters re-emerging in the recently beaten up financial stocks, particularly those with UK exposure," he said. "Investors seem to look at these stocks as too cheap to pass up, as opposed to the risks that these sectors face moving forward."
Following firming commodity prices in London on Friday, Australia's resource sector shares posted significant gains, with mineral sands explorer Iluka Resources Ltd surging 9.6 per cent and mineral explorer Independence Group NL rising 8.47 per cent on announcing gold, zinc and copper production within or above guidance.
Malaysia-based gold and mineral miner Saracen Mineral Holdings Ltd gained 5.7 per cent. Copper miner Oz Minerals Ltd added 5.2 per cent.
Whitehaven Coal Ltd rose 6.46 per cent on rising coal prices and construction company CIMIC Group, formerly Leighton Holdings, gained as much as 3.2 per cent on being awarded an A$1.58 billion (S$1.61 billion) tunnel project in Hong Kong.
Financial stocks also posted gains, with Australia's big four banks all jumping more than 2 per cent. The strongest movers were Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, which gained 3 per cent and Westpac Banking Corp, which gained 2.69 per cent.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.7 per cent or 48.17 points to 7,048.27.
The biggest gainer was New Zealand Refining, which rose 2.55 per cent.
Health care was the best performing sector, with software company Orion Health Group up 2.54 per cent and health appliance maker Fisher & Paykel Healthcare rising 1.4 per cent.
The subsidiaries of Australian banks also rose, with ANZ up 2.59 per cent and Westpac up 2.58 per cent.
Rubber goods company Skellerup led losses, falling 0.8 per cent.