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Australian shares edge up on energy, banking gains; Fed meeting eyed

06/15/2021 | 09:13pm EDT

June 16 (Reuters) - Australian stocks inched higher on Wednesday, helped by gains in energy and banking sectors, as investors refrained from making big bets ahead of the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later in the day.

The benchmark ASX 200 index rose 0.2% to 7,390.7 by 0028 GMT.

All eyes are on the U.S. central bank for its comments on inflation and any potential change in its policy. Weak retail sales and strong inflation data have stoked investors' hopes of an indication towards potential tapering of policy support.

Energy stocks rode a surge in oil prices that hit a two-year high on expectations of a strong recovery in demand.

The sub-index gained up to 2% to hit its highest in three months, with oil producers Beach Energy and Oil Search rising 2.6% and 2.9%, respectively.

The country's "Big Four" banks gained, with the broader financial index adding 0.6%.

Tech stocks, however, were the worst performers, as they tracked U.S. peers lower. The sub-index dropped about 1.3% to cap gains on the benchmark.

Buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay Ltd fell 2%, while software firm WiseTech Global lost 2.9%.

Heavyweight mining stocks fell nearly 1% on weaker gold and copper prices. Copper miner OZ Minerals shed 4.9% to be top loser while gold-focused Evolution Mining lost 1.4%.

Gold stocks fell about 0.6% amid weaker bullion prices, with gold miners Northern Star down nearly 1%, and Newcrest Mining down 0.6%.

In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 slid 0.3% to 12,659.3.

In other markets, Japan's benchmark index Nikkei slipped 0.1% to 29,407.37, while the S&P 500 E-minis futures were up 0.04%. (Reporting by Yamini C S in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AFTERPAY LIMITED 0.43% 132.11 End-of-day quote.11.96%
ARVIDA GROUP LIMITED 0.48% 2.11 End-of-day quote.17.88%
BEACH ENERGY LIMITED 0.42% 1.185 End-of-day quote.-34.35%
EVOLUTION MINING LIMITED -3.99% 3.61 End-of-day quote.-27.66%
LINK ADMINISTRATION HOLDINGS LIMITED 0.46% 4.33 End-of-day quote.-21.98%
MERIDIAN ENERGY LIMITED 0.00% 5.2 End-of-day quote.-29.92%
NEWCREST MINING LIMITED -2.49% 23.09 End-of-day quote.-10.43%
NORTHERN STAR RESOURCES LIMITED -4.26% 8.76 End-of-day quote.-30.97%
OIL SEARCH LIMITED 1.26% 4.03 End-of-day quote.8.63%
ORORA LIMITED -1.56% 3.16 End-of-day quote.17.04%
OZ MINERALS LIMITED 0.87% 23.17 End-of-day quote.22.72%
S&P/ASX 200 -0.37% 7342.6 Real-time Quote.11.89%
TOURISM HOLDINGS LIMITED 0.84% 2.41 End-of-day quote.-7.31%
WISETECH GLOBAL LIMITED -2.12% 53.19 End-of-day quote.72.98%
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