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Australia: Shares advance as miners, Wall Street surge
[BENGALURU] Australian shares rose on Thursday after Wall Street notched overnight gains on strong corporate earnings and hopes for further US stimulus, while domestic miners stormed to their highest in more than 9 years as commodity prices strengthened.
Concerns that the global economy is stalling amid a surge in coronavirus cases has increased calls for more fiscal aid, a move stock investors have welcomed.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.7 per cent to 6,041.5 by 0102 GMT.
Australian shares tracked the strength in Wall Street as Walt Disney Co's surprise quarterly profit beat boosted broader sentiment and also helped the Dow Jones Industrial Average finish 1.4 per cent higher, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite also ended in the black.
In Australia, the Covid-19 crisis deepened as second-most populous state Victoria reported a record 15 deaths on Wednesday even as most businesses in the state prepared to temporarily stop trading.
Top miners BHP Group and Rio Tinto rose up to 3.7 per cent and 1.4 per cent, respectively, to push heavyweight miners to their highest since May 2011 as iron ore futures found support from a pick-up in China demand.
Energy stocks were driven higher after oil prices hit a five-month high as US crude inventories fell sharply and the US dollar weakened.
Oil and gas producers Woodside Petroleum and Santos tacked on 1.6 per cent and 2.3 per cent, respectively.
The "Big Four" Australian banks all gained between 0.8 per cent and 1.3 per cent to lead gains among financials.
Healthcare stocks were the only major sub-index trading in negative territory as industry giant CSL eased 1.4 per cent and accounted for a bulk of the losses.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index eased 0.3 per cent to 11,723.75, also dragged down by healthcare stocks.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp slid 2.2 per cent, while Ryman Healthcare gave up 0.6 per cent.