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Australia: Shares gain on renewed US stimulus hopes
[BENGALURU] Australian shares rose on Wednesday with banking and mining stocks leading the charge, as hopes that US lawmakers could clinch a much-sought-after fiscal stimulus package by the end of the week supported global equity markets.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.4 per cent, or 21.4 points, to 6,203.50 by 0025 GMT after losing 0.7 per cent in the previous session.
Overnight, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed hopes of clearing the coronavirus relief package this week, bringing some stability to markets amid heightened uncertainty ahead of the presidential election.
Boosting investor sentiment further, a Reuters report said AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine trial in the United States was expected to resume as early as this week after the US drug regulator completed its review of a serious illness in a study participant.
Australia's financial sub-index rose 0.5 per cent, with the "Big Four" banks gaining between 0.5 per cent and 1.6 per cent.
Miners added 0.6 per cent with top iron ore producers BHP Group and Rio Tinto advancing 0.7 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively.
An overnight rebound in oil prices after a four-day slump buoyed energy stocks, with Papua New Guinea-focussed explorer Oil Search leading the sub-index higher with a near 3 per cent jump.
Packaging company Orora was the top percentage gainer on the benchmark with a 6 per cent rise, after providing an upbeat trading outlook for its North American business.
Rare-earths producer Lynas Corp was also among the top boosts as it jumped 3 per cent on reporting higher quarterly output.
Among losers, healthcare stocks slipped 0.9 per cent, dragged by a weaker greenback as the sector relies heavily on exports to the United States. CSL fell 0.3 per cent to be the biggest drag on the sub-index.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index inched 0.1 per cent higher to 12,472. Among the top gainers, logistics services provider Mainfreight and utilities provider Infratil advanced 2.2 per cent and 1.7 per cent, respectively.