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Australia: Shares eye record monthly gain on vaccine cheer, rebound hopes

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Australian shares opened higher on Monday, and were on track to post their biggest monthly gain, as optimism surrounding Covid-19 vaccine candidates and hopes of an economic recovery in the coming year boosted risk appetite.

[BENGALURU] Australian shares opened higher on Monday, and were on track to post their biggest monthly gain, as optimism surrounding Covid-19 vaccine candidates and hopes of an economic recovery in the coming year boosted risk appetite.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.5 per cent at 6,632.90 by 2330 GMT. It was on track to add nearly 12 per cent in November, its biggest monthly gain on record.

Optimism around multiple potential effective coronavirus treatments buoyed global stock markets this month, with hopes of a swift economic recovery in 2021 further bolstering the gains.

Investors will be eyeing third-quarter gross domestic product data due on Wednesday that is expected to show a rebound in the economy - a likely 2.5 per cent growth in September quarter from a 7 per cent contraction in the June quarter, according to a Reuters poll.

"With another solid gain likely in Q4 and the growth outlook looking positive for 2021, GDP could be back to its pre-pandemic level sometime in 2021," analysts at ANZ said in a note.

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Heavyweight financials sub-index gained 0.5 per cent on the back of blue-chip banking stocks, with the sector on track to post a record monthly gain of more than 17 per cent.

Miners were set to post their best month since May, while energy companies were poised to add more than 30 per cent in November, their record monthly gain.

Meanwhile, an 11.8 per cent fall in Treasury Wine Estates weighed a little on the index after the winemaker said it would redirect some wine intended for China and cut costs after Beijing imposed anti-dumping tariffs on Australian wine.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.5 per cent to 12,703.12, on track to add more than 5 per cent in November, likely its second consecutive monthly gain.

REUTERS

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