Australia shares wrap up holiday-shortened week on firm note

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Australia shares wrap up holiday-shortened week on firm note


Australian shares settled higher on Thursday, wrapping up the holiday-shortened week on a firm note as investor cheered an end to Brisbane lockdown ahead of the long Easter weekend.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.6 per cent at 6,828.70, with gold and technology stocks leading the gains. Both Australian and New Zealand markets are closed on Friday and Monday for Easter holidays.

Market participants cheered after Australia ended a lockdown of its third-biggest city Brisbane, just in time for Easter holidays, as only one new locally transmitted COVID-19 case in Queensland state eased fears of a widespread outbreak.

“We haven’t been told anything today that we’re going to continue on into Easter, which is really good news,” said Brad Smoling, managing director of Smoling Stockbroking, of the three-day lockdown in Brisbane.

Technology stocks closed about 2.5 per cent higher in their best session since March 16, following a tech-led rally on Wall Street.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose on Wednesday, boosted by gains in technology shares, and the three major Wall Street indexes registered their fourth straight quarterly rise as investors positioned themselves for U.S. President Joe Biden’s massive infrastructure plan.

Megaport gained 5.7 per cent, while Afterpay added about 4 per cent.

Gold stocks ended 2.9 per cent higher, notching their best session in two weeks, as bullion prices rebounded.

West African Resources advanced 7.8 per cent, while De Grey Mining climbed 8.6 per cent.

Miners added 1.6 per cent, lifted by higher iron ore prices. BHP Group rose 0.8 per cent, while Rio Tinto gained 1.1 per cent.

Lithium and copper-exposed stocks advanced as Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan pushed for investments and subsidies on electric vehicles.

The heavyweight financial sector climbed 0.4 per cent, bolstered by a near 5 per cent gain in AMP Ltd after the embattled wealth manager named its new chief executive officer.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.6 per cent lower at 12,488.31. Vista Group and Stride Property were the top losers.



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