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Australia shares rise on boost from healthcare, mining; NZ down

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[BENGALURU] Australian shares were given a boost on Monday by gains in mining and healthcare firms, with upbeat US jobs data helping ease some of the anxiety over a broad slowdown globally and in the world's biggest economy.

Wall Street stocks rose on Friday after US non-farm payrolls data beat expectations in a much-needed boost to fragile investor confidence.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.65 per cent or 40.1 points at 6,221.4, recouping some of 0.8 per cent losses on Friday.

"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," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

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Miners jumped 1.7 per cent as Dalian iron ore prices extended an impressive rally, hitting a record high. Mining behemoths BHP Group rose 1.4 per cent, while Rio Tinto advanced 1.5 per cent.

Fortescue Metals Group rose 2.8 per cent, posting its ninth winning session out of ten.

Increased demand from China for steelmaking raw materials as industrial activity returns to full swing at the end of winter supported prices, amid declining shipments from Brazil and Australia.

Resolute Mining was the top gainer on index, up 7.7 per cent, after its March quarter gold production rose 33 per cent from the prior quarter.

Other gold miners also rallied after gold prices rose to a one-week peak, with the country's biggest gold miner Newcrest Mining gaining 1.4 per cent.

On the downside, rare-earths miner Lynas Corporation slipped amid signs of tightening regulations, with the firm facing the prospect of losing the operating license for its processing plant in Malaysia.

Also boosting the index were healthcare stocks, which rose 1.5 per cent, with benchmark heavyweight CSL Ltd putting on 1.8 per cent.

Energy stocks rose in tandem with oil prices, with Woodside Petroleum up 1.3 per cent and Oil Search tacking on 1.1 per cent.

Financial stocks underperformed, with the "Big Four" banks edging lower, as the sector took a breather after a strong six-session rally that ended on Thursday.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.51 per cent or 49.97 points to finish at 9,807.08.

Transportation and energy services provider Infratil slipped 1.6 per cent after it cut its earnings guidance for the 2019 year.

REUTERS