* Australian benchmark sees highest close since June 10
* Healthcare stocks boosted by positive vaccine data
* Travel stocks gain
July 21 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed higher on
Tuesday, marking their best session since June 16, after the
country's central bank advocated for further fiscal stimulus,
boosting demand for riskier assets.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 2.6% up at 6,156.30,
highest since June 10. The benchmark had settled 0.6% lower on
Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe on
Tuesday urged the government to borrow more and boost public
spending to support the country's economic recovery.
Lowe said the government could "smooth things out" through
direct cash transfers to households and businesses as well as by
boosting public spending on infrastructure and wage subsidy
"The RBA talked up the labour market and kept the status quo
in many ways. This is the biggest driver today coming up from a
flat U.S. market close," said Brad Smoling, managing director at
Promising early data from trials of three potential COVID-19
vaccines, which bolstered hopes that vaccines against the
disease might be ready by the end of year, also supported market
The Technology sector, which rose 5.7% and closed at
a record high, was the top gainer on the Australian benchmark
WiseTech Global closed 4.3% higher, while Afterpay
added nearly 8%.
Healthcare stocks rose 3.7%, cheering the potential
vaccine results, with CSL Ltd gaining 3.9%, and
Cochlear firming 5.7%.
The heavyweight financial index rose slmodt 3%,
marking its best day since June 10, with the Big Four banks
closing above 2%.
Australia's travel stocks also rebounded, with travel
services provider Corporate Travel Management, one of
the biggest percentage gainers on the benchmark, closing over 9%
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 1.6%
higher at 11,736.73.
Top gainers were Kathmandu Holdings, finishing 4.5%
up, followed by Skycity Entertainment that rose 4%.
(Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru;
Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)