Dec 21 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Tuesday by
their most in two weeks, as biotech firm CSL Ltd led healthcare
stocks higher and miners advanced on the back of an extended
rally in iron ore futures.
The S&P/ASX 200 index settled 0.86% higher at 7,355
to notch its best session since Dec. 8, with all sectors except
real estate, industrials and education closing in positive
Healthcare stocks rallied 3.9% in their best session
since August 2020. Kunal Sawhney, the chief executive officer at
equity research firm Kalkine Group, said the gains were
primarily fuelled by CSL's recovery.
CSL shares closed 4.9% higher in their second
straight session of gains, after shedding 8.8% last week mainly
due to a discounted capital raise to fund its acquisition of
Among other gainers, Cochlear and Ramsay Health
Care rose 3.9% and 3.1%, respectively.
"The broader optimism was seen to be ruling in favour of the
healthcare sector," Sawhney said.
Analysts at Jefferies were also bullish on the sector on
expectation that rising COVID-19 cases would contribute to
Mining stocks gained 1.1%, with Rio Tinto
and BHP Group rising 3.2% and 1.5% respectively, as
iron ore prices extended their rally and hit multi-week highs on
China demand hopes.
Energy stocks firmed 1.6%. Investment house
Washington H Soul Pattinson And Co and Ampol
rose 3.7% and 2%, respectively.
However, lithium explorer Pilbara Minerals fell 9%
to be the top loser on the benchmark after it slashed its annual
production forecast due to delays and shutdowns at project
Meanwhile, minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia's Dec. 7
meeting showed its board did not expect the Omicron variant to
derail the country's economic recovery. The board also mulled
how to wind up its bond buying programme given the rapid
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50
index climbed 0.71% to 12,856.87 despite the country
delaying the reopening of its international border to late
(Reporting by Harshita Swaminathan; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)