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Australia: Shares bounce on miners, energy stocks; NZ falls

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares started the week on firm footing on Monday, tracking Wall Street gains and with miners and energy stocks leading the rally as stronger-than-expected US jobs growth eased concerns about the world's largest economy.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.5 per cent to 6,211.30 by 0023 GMT. The benchmark had extended losses to a second consecutive day on Friday, ending 0.8 per cent lower, as investors booked profits after a seven-session bull run.

The positive US nonfarm payrolls data provided some reassurance two weeks after the yield curve between three-month treasury bills and 10-year notes briefly inverted, in what is commonly viewed as a sign of an oncoming recession.

"Aussie stocks have got positive momentum at the moment. It's not just about the US jobs numbers. The optimism around US-China trade talks is also an important factor for the good gains this morning," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

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Prominent among the gainers Down Under were mining stocks with the red-hot iron ore prices continuing to bolster the sector against the backdrop of global supply concerns for the steel-making raw material.

The Metals and Mining sub-index rose up to 1 per cent with index heavyweights BHP Group and Rio Tinto putting on 0.9 per cent and 0.7 per cent, respectively, while major iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group advanced 1.8 per cent.

"Many of the underlying commodities are in the uptrend at the moment and that would see continued support for the miners... Prices remain elevated and there could be further gains in the sector," added Mr McCarthy.

Energy stocks were lifted by higher oil prices, which gained 1.5 per cent on Friday, on the U.S. employment data and on expectations that an escalating conflict in Libya could tighten supplies.

Oil and gas explorer Beach Energy Ltd tacked on 2.5 per cent and oil services firm WorleyParsons Ltd added 2.2 per cent to be among the top percentage gainers on the energy sub-index.

However, the little-changed financials, the largest sector in the benchmark, capped further overall gains , weighed down by the Big Four banks.

Rare earths miner Lynas Corp shed 3.3 per cent after the firm said it was considering initial ore processing close to its Australian mine owing to intense regulatory pressure from Malaysia where it has a processing plant.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slipped for a fourth successive session, falling 0.4 per cent to 9,817.52.

Energy and transport services firm Infratil Ltd dropped as much as 3.5 per cent after it revised down its underlying earnings guidance for the 2019 financial year. 

REUTERS