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Australia: Shares ride trade war 'sugar rush', NZ also rises
[BENGALURU] Gains in the banking and mining sectors boosted Australian stocks on Friday, as signs of tentative easing in the US-China trade dispute provided some cheer to global risk sentiment.
At 0222 GMT, the S&P/ASX 200 index advanced 1.3 per cent, or 85.5 points, to 6,592.9. The benchmark was headed for its fourth straight session in the black and a second consecutive weekly gain.
"Soothing comments on trade by the Chinese Commerce Ministry late yesterday in Asia saw Wall Street stocks carve out impressive gains overnight.... Equities and energy markets gladly accepted the sugar rush," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA in a note to clients.
China's commerce ministry said Beijing and Washington were discussing the next round of face-to-face talks scheduled for September.
"As ever though, sentiment remains cautious at best with global markets vulnerable to headline bombs emanating from either Beijing or Washington D.C.," Mr Halley further cautioned.
Australian bank stocks, the heaviest sector on the benchmark, tacked on as much as 1.3 per cent. The "big four" banks added between 1.3 per cent and 1.6 per cent.
Australia and New Zealand Banking was set for its best day in over 8 weeks.
Mining units also rose, with sector titans BHP Group and Rio Tinto climbing as much as 1.8 per cent and 2.5 per cent, respectively.
Local tech stocks surged as much as 2.5 per cent to hit an over one-month high, inspired by overnight strength in trade-sensitive Wall Street peers.
Data centre operator NEXTDC and buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay Touch Group notched up 6.1 per cent and 4.6 per cent, respectively. Afterpay hit its best level since listing, with cheer augmented by solid customer growth numbers it posted this week.
Signs of easing trade tensions placated recession fears but weighed on the safe-haven appeal of gold stocks, which lost as much as 3.1 per cent and was the sole sector in the red.
Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining advanced 2.3 per cent and 2.7 per cent, respectively.
Lithium miner Galaxy Resources bucked the trend to fall as much as 6.8 per cent after it reported a huge half-year loss due to an impairment charge related to its flagship Mt Cattlin project.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark index rose 0.8 per cent, or 83.63 points, to 10,663.7.
Dairy products maker Fonterra was the top gainer on the benchmark, and set for its best session in eight weeks.