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Australasia, News

Energy stocks boost Australian shares, NZ up

By Soumyajit Saha

June 19 (Reuters) – Australian shares gained on Friday, hitting a more than one-week high, helped by energy stocks that tracked higher oil prices, although worries remained about a second wave of COVID-19 infections around the world. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.73% to 5,979.9 in early trade and hit its highest since June 11.

The index was set for a near 2% weekly gain as hopes of a quick economic recovery persisted following the U.S. Federal Reserve’s move to expand its bond-buying program on Monday, amid worries of higher COVID-19 cases in the United States and China.

On Friday, a subindex for energy stocks rose 1.4% after oil futures extended gains following a meeting of OPEC and its allies to review the record oil supply cuts. Brent and U.S. WTI crude rose 0.36% and 0.44% each.

Cooper Energy Ltd led gains on the energy subindex with a 3.95% jump.

Among individual shares and indexes, gold stocks advanced 0.88%, led by Cardinal Resources Ltd, up 29.03%. Its board recommended an all-cash takeover offer for the company from Shandong Gold Mining Co.

Prices of the yellow metal rose 0.02% to $1,722.80.

Financial stocks rose 0.56% as three of the “big four” banks rose.

Miners also rose, led by New Century Resources Ltd , up 6.45%.

The number of issues on the ASX that advanced were 706, while 236 declined as a 3-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.24% to 11,251.8 and was set to gain more than 3% for the week.

(Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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