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Australasia, News

Australian shares track Wall St higher as stimulus hopes linger

By Soumyajit Saha

June 23 (Reuters) – Australian shares gained on Tuesday, tracking Wall Street indexes that rose overnight on hopes of more stimulus measures to combat a coronavirus-led economic slump, while higher oil prices boosted energy stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.47% to 5,972.2, on track for a third straight session of gains.

The main indexes on Wall Street rose between 0.59% and 1.11%, as investors held on to hopes for further government help from last week when both House Democrats and the Trump administration had said they were looking to provide more infrastructure-based stimulus.

But rising global COVID-19 cases weighed, with the World Health Organization saying Sunday’s more than 183,000 new cases were highest for a single day yet.

Meanwhile, the IHS Markit June flash composite PMI for Australia rose to 52.6 from 26.4 in May.

The energy subindex rose 0.7%, as oil prices jumped on tighter crude supplies from major producers and easing lockdowns.

Retailer Woolworths Group shed 0.6% after it said employees at its pub and hotels group ALH Hotels had been underpaid, and that the cost to remediate them would eat into its full-year operating profit.

Technology stocks rose 1.31% after Wall Street peers gained on help from a resurgent Apple Inc which announced new products at its annual conference for software developers.

Financial stocks rose 0.22% led by AMP Ltd, up 8.22% and the benchmark’s top percentage gainer, after it said all regulatory approvals for the sale of AMP Life had been received.

The mining index rose 0.98%, led by Alumina Ltd , up 4.86%.

The number of issues on the ASX that advanced were 533 while 200 declined.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.27% to 11,188.9, helped by utility stocks like Meridian Energy , which gained over 2%. (Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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