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Australia, New Zealand: Shares jump on Wall Street surge, oil gains

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares rose sharply in light end-of-year trade on Thursday, following a strong Wall Street rebound and as a surge in oil prices pushed energy stocks higher.

On Wall Street overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged more than 1,000 points for the first time in a dramatic rebound. All three major indices notched their largest daily percentage gains in nearly a decade by the close.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index climbed as much as 1.5 per cent to its biggest intra-day percentage gain in nearly one month.

The benchmark was 1.4 per cent higher at 5,571.9 by 0010 GMT, a one-week high. On Monday, the benchmark closed 0.5 per cent higher in a shortened Christmas eve trading session. The market was closed on Tuesday and Wednesday for the Christmas and Boxing Day public holidays.

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Market voices on:

"You've got the biggest (Wall Street) points gain of all time, so that's going to raise everything," said Mathan Somasundaram, a Blue Ocean Equities market portfolio strategist.

"Everyone's bouncing on that and there will be a fair amount of short covering on the big caps."

Miner BHP jumped 3 per cent to a more than 11-week high, mirroring broad gains across mining stocks, with the sector's sub-index up over 2 per cent.

Energy stocks were among the biggest gainers, as oil surged on Wednesday to its strongest daily gain in more than two years. This follows a period of steep losses that pushed crude benchmarks to lows not seen since 2017.

Woodside Petroleum added as much as 3.9 per cent, marking its biggest intra-day gain since May.

Both Santos and Oil Search rose as much as 4.4 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively, their biggest gains in over three weeks.

Financial stocks, the benchmark's largest constituent, rose 0.9 per cent, with embattled wealth manager AMP up 3 per cent.

The industry has struggled this year with widespread revelations of misconduct that surfaced during a damaging national inquiry into the sector.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.9 per cent, or 79.9 points, to 8,794.41, its biggest intraday percentage gain in four weeks.

A 3.8 per cent jump in a2 Milk Company helped lift the index to a one-week high.

REUTERS