The Business Times

Australia: Shares close at highest in over a year, extend gains for fourth session

Published Wed, Apr 7, 2021 · 03:01 PM

[BENGALURU] Australian shares on Wednesday closed at their highest in over a year, extending gains for the fourth straight session, helped by the country's energy and gold sectors.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.61 per cent to 6,928 at the close of trade, its highest close since Feb 24 last year.

"What's really at play right now is to get a handle on which direction we're going with rates and expectations for inflation," said Brad Smoling, managing director at Smoling Stockbroking.

On Tuesday, the country's central bank left lending rates unchanged at an all time-low, and promised to remain accommodative for as long as it took to push inflation within its 2-3 per cent target range.

"The Australian exchange is really sort of spinning its wheels, there's no direction to take a lead from at this stage," Mr Smoling said.

Gold stocks extended gains for a third session and closed up 2.3 per cent, as bullion prices rose overnight, though prices dipped on Wednesday as strong US data sparked economic recovery hopes.

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Index heavyweight Newcrest Mining rose 1.1 per cent and ended higher for a third session.

Energy stocks closed up 1.4 per cent, tracking an uptick in oil prices on the prospects of stronger global economic growth amid increased Covid-19 vaccinations.

Woodside Petroleum and Santos Ltd rose 1.2 per cent and 1.9 per cent, respectively.

Tech stocks continued their winning streak for a fourth session, with Afterpay adding 1.9 per cent.

Travel stocks extended gains following the announcement of quaratine-free "travel bubble" between Australia and New Zealand on Tuesday. Qantas Airways climbed 2.6 per cent, while Flight Centre Travel Group added 1.2 per cent.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.7 per cent to finish the session at 12,487.59.

REUTERS

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