AUSTRALIAN shares advanced for a second consecutive session on Wednesday as markets tracked an overnight rally on Wall Street, with energy stocks leading the gains on the back of rising oil prices.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.19 per cent to 6,536.2 by 0059 GMT, adding to Tuesday's 1.41 per cent jump.
Wall Street's major indexes jumped overnight as investors returned from a long weekend and bought up shares of megacap growth and energy companies hit last week by global economic worries. Local investors also pushed back recession fears after Reserve Bank of
Australia Governor Philip Lowe on Tuesday played down the chance of rates being increased by a super-sized 75 basis points.
Energy stocks advanced 2.8 per cent to be the biggest gainers on the main index, after oil prices surged overnight on high summer fuel demand while supplies remained tight because of sanctions on Russian oil after its invasion of Ukraine.
Sector heavyweights Woodside Energy and Santos rose 2.7 per cent and 3.1 per cent, respectively.
Financials, however, fell 2.1 per cent, with the "Big Four" banks trading in negative territory. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country's biggest lender, skidded 0.5 per cent, while National Australia Bank led losses with a fall of 0.7 per cent.
Shares of fintech firm Humm Group fell 6.7 per cent to A$0.49 after the company's majority directors agreed to resign after a deal with digital payments and lending firm Latitude Group fell through.
St Barbara plunged 13.7 per cent to A$0.975, its lowest in more than six years, after the gold miner announced a strategic review of its Simberi operations, and warned of a near-term risk of disruption to its Touquoy operation.
Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.7 per cent to 10,776.
New Zealand-based respiratory products maker Fisher & Paykel tumbled 2.2 per cent to a one-week low of NZ$19.18 in ex-dividend trading. REUTERS