Miners, tech firms boost Australia shares
July 29 (Reuters) – Australian shares rose on Thursday, as tech stocks and miners led the charge with Fortescue Metals gaining after record fourth-quarter shipments and firmer commodity prices helped the iron ore miner beat its annual forecast.
The S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.4% at 7,412.1 points, as of 1249 GMT. The index closed 0.7% lower on Wednesday.
Markets showed scant reaction to reports that New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, recorded its biggest daily rise in COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began as residents of state capital Sydney face another month under tough curbs to stamp out the Delta variant.
Miners jumped 1.7% to scale a record high, helped by a 3% rise in sector heavyweight Fortescue Metals Group Ltd following its strong quarterly numbers.
Rivals Rio Tinto and BHP added more than 3% each to hit all-time highs.
Tech stocks advanced more than 2%, with Iress Ltd shares jumping 16.2% to their highest in more than a year after the fintech company rejected a takeover offer from private-equity firm EQT.
Gold stocks climbed more than 1% on higher bullion prices. Regis Resources and heavyweight Northern Star Resources gained 5.6% and 1%, respectively.
Bucking the upbeat mood, financials slipped 0.2% with the “Big Four” banks falling between 0.2% and 0.7%
Shares of Macquarie Group extended losses to a third consecutive session after the financial conglomerate trimmed its dividend payout range even though it reported a rise in first-quarter profit.
Energy stocks were up 0.3% with Woodside Petroleum and Whitehaven Coal gaining 1.3% and 0.9%, respectively.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was up 0.7%, with healthcare and utility stocks leading the gains on the bourse.
$1 = 1.3572 Australian dollars Reporting by Tejaswi Marthi in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips