* Victoria state reports zero new cases in 24 hours
* Coca-Cola Amatil stock top gainer on benchmark
* Westpac drags financial stocks
* NZ markets closed for a holiday
Oct 26 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Monday as
COVID-19 hotspot Victoria reported zero new cases for the first
time in four months and Coca-Cola Amatil received a $6.6 billion
Gains in healthcare and tech stocks helped the S&P/ASX 200
index firm 0.4% to 6,190.10 by 0049 GMT.
Victoria state has now gone 24 hours without detecting any
new COVID-19 cases, a milestone last achieved four months ago,
raising hopes that a stringent lockdown of Melbourne will be
The state's Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday had delayed the
reopening of the city which went under a lockdown in July, even
as businesses argued for the need to reopen the economy.
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd surged 16% to see
its best day in over a decade and top the benchmark after
Coca-Cola European Partners offered to buy the
Australian bottler, in what would be the country's biggest deal
Coca-Cola's jump also pushed consumer stocks 2%
higher. The index marked its best session in nearly three weeks.
Aiding sentiment were signs of U.S. stimulus talks gathering
momentum after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterated the need
for a round of aid as soon as possible and said the President
Donald Trump's administration was reviewing the latest plans.
Among other individual shares and sectors, the tech index
rose 2.1%. Software maker WiseTech Global Ltd,
jumped 3.3% and Bravura Solutions Ltd added 2.8%.
Healthcare stocks gained 1.1%, benefiting from
firmness in the greenback as the United States is a top export
destination for the companies.
Biotech major CSL Ltd jumped 1.6%, rising the most
on the sub-index.
The heavyweight financial index slipped, with
Westpac Banking Corp shares falling 0.9% after it
revealed it would book a $870.4 million hit in second-half
Markets in New Zealand were closed for a holiday.
(Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; editing by