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Australia shares ride Wall Street higher; NZ post minor gains


[BENGALURU] A rally in Australian financial and consumer stocks helped drive up its share market on Monday as positive sentiment spilled over from Wall Street on better than expected jobs data.

The benchmark Australian index snapped three sessions of losses to gain 0.7 per cent, or 39.23 points, to 5,742.80 by 0213 GMT.

The index lost 0.3 per cent last week, while shedding nearly one per cent on Friday.

Wall Street stocks ended higher on Friday after US Labour Department data showed the world's biggest economy added 222,000 jobs last month, exceeding expectations of an addition of 179,000.

While the robust jobs data puts the Federal Reserve on course to raise interest rates once more this year, subdued wage growth may give the central bank room to pause if needed.

"Markets are reacting positively to the data. Australian shares are tracking Wall Street which posted gains on Friday after strong employment data boosted confidence in the US economy," said senior analyst Adam Tout at CPS Capital in Perth.

Financial stocks, tracking profits in US peers, were the biggest gainers on the benchmark.

The 'Big Four' Australian banks were the top performers by weight, rising between 0.6 per cent and one per cent.

The consumer cyclicals and durables sectors also contributed handily to the overall gains, with retailing giants Woolworths and Wesfarmers rising 1.2 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively.

The local tech sector too mirrored a rise in U.S. peers, with online property consultant REA Group up 0.7 per cent.

At the other end, basic materials wound up as the only losing sector as base metals prices saw some weakness, while iron ore prices rose.

The most-traded iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange gained on Friday after port data from Australia showed iron ore shipments to China from Australia's Port Hedland terminal dropped to 36.6 million tonnes in June from 38 million tonnes the month before.

Port Hedland is used by three of Australia's top four iron ore miners, BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals Group and Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting.

Fortescue and BHP were down about 0.4 per cent each, while Rio Tinto was flat.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose marginally, adding 0.1 per cent, or 9.71 points, at 7,631.84, as gains in financial and technology stocks offset losses in consumer shares.

Accounting software maker Xero Ltd was the biggest gainer on the benchmark by weight, up 2 per cent.