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Australia shares track Wall Street higher, miners boost

08/03/2021 | 09:26pm EDT

Aug 4 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Wednesday, following Wall Street's upbeat session overnight, as local miners gained on higher iron ore prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose nearly 0.4% to 7,503.9 points.

Elsewhere, Nikkei was down 0.36% and S&P 500 E-minis futures slipped 0.18%. The S&P 500 index closed at record high on Tuesday on gains in Apple Inc and healthcare stocks.

Australia's miners rose 1.6% to lead gains on the benchmark index, as iron ore prices jumped 2% on hopes of strong demand.

Leading gains, Pilbara Minerals Ltd rose 4.1%, followed by Mineral Resources Ltd, which climbed 3.5%.

The country's major miners, BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals, rose between 1% and 2%.

Aussie energy firms followed with a 0.75% gain, led by Whitehaven Coal Ltd, up 2.8%, and Energy Ltd , which rose 1%.

Putting a damper on sentiment was a warning by authorities that a lockdown in state capital Brisbane might be extended beyond Sunday if people flout the tough restrictions, after a further rise in COVID-19 cases in Queensland state on Wednesday.

Financial stocks rose 0.5% with Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group , National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corp rising between 0.3% and 0.7%.

The retail sub-index also gained 0.5%, with A2 Milk rising 1.7%.

Jefferies said it expected the country's retailers to report robust annual results on strong demand and raised its PT on a number of firms, including Woolworths and Coles Group .

On the other hand, tech stocks dipped 0.13% after a two-day rally that saw the sub-index gain about 11%. Buy-now-pay-later juggernaut Afterpay rose nearly 1%.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index gained 0.3% at 12,738.3.

(Reporting by Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AFTERPAY LIMITED 0.43% 132.11 End-of-day quote.11.96%
APPLE INC. 0.06% 146.92 Delayed Quote.10.72%
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / US DOLLAR (AUD/USD) 0.28% 0.7284 Delayed Quote.-5.16%
BEACH ENERGY LIMITED 0.42% 1.185 End-of-day quote.-34.35%
BHP GROUP -1.72% 37.72 End-of-day quote.-11.10%
COLES GROUP LIMITED 0.53% 17.06 End-of-day quote.-5.95%
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA 0.89% 101.7 End-of-day quote.23.86%
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED -1.22% 15.34 End-of-day quote.-34.53%
MINERAL RESOURCES LIMITED -2.91% 46.4 End-of-day quote.23.90%
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED 1.03% 27.35 End-of-day quote.21.02%
NIKKEI 225 2.06% 30248.81 Real-time Quote.10.22%
PILBARA MINERALS LIMITED 0.00% 2.14 End-of-day quote.145.98%
S&P 500 0.15% 4455.48 Delayed Quote.18.45%
S&P/ASX 200 0.66% 7393.3 Real-time Quote.11.47%
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION 0.72% 25.25 End-of-day quote.30.36%
WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITED 1.29% 3.15 End-of-day quote.91.49%
WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED 0.59% 39.29 End-of-day quote.-0.05%
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