* Central bank says creating jobs is the "main focus"
* Energy stocks gain as oil prices rise
* NZ snaps 11-session winning streak
Oct 15 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed higher on
Thursday, lifted by energy and mining stocks, as investors bet
on a steady recovery after the reserve bank hinted at additional
monetary easing to support the pandemic-ravaged economy.
The S&P/ASX 200 index finished 0.5% higher at
6,210.30, following a 0.3% decline on Wednesday.
Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe on
Thursday said the board was mulling options to support jobs and
businesses, and added that it felt monetary easing would become
more effective as coronavirus curbs were lifted.
Analysts say the RBA could lower the cash rate by 10 to 15
basis points, as early as in the central bank's meeting next
"The considerations of the RBA ... have been enough to
really give the Aussie market a bit of a boost," said James Tao,
market analyst at CommSec.
Adding further optimism, China's central bank on Thursday
injected 500 billion yuan ($74.48 billion) worth of medium-term
loans into the banking system and kept borrowing costs unchanged
for the sixth straight month.
"The market is more than happy to bet on the Asian play ...
China seems to be the safe place to be," said Mathan
Somasundaram, chief executive officer of Deep Data Analytics.
The Australian energy sector, the top boost to the
benchmark, gained 2.5% to mark its highest close since Sept. 8,
buoyed by a rise in oil prices.
Oil Search and Santos ended about 4%
Mining stocks climbed 1% at close, with BHP Group
ending 2.1% higher and Rio Tinto finishing up
The heavyweight finanical index gained 0.6%, with
the so-called "Big Four" banks ending the session firmer.
Meanwhile, technology stocks slipped 1.5%, snapping
eight straight sessions of gains.
Nearmap Ltd closed 6% lower, while Bravura
Solutions Ltd lost 3.7%.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index
finished 0.5% lower at 12,486.73, snapping an 11-session winning
Top losers were A2 Milk Company Ltd, down 3.1%,
followed by Vista Group International Ltd, losing 2.6%.
(Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry