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Australasia, News

Australia shares extend gains as commodity-exposed firms shine

April 7 (Reuters) – Australian shares on Wednesday extended gains for a fourth session, driven by commodity-exposed stocks on firm crude and metals prices and as investors placed bets on improving prospects for a global economic recovery.

The S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 0.5% to 6,920.2 points in early trade, hitting a fresh high since mid-February. Elsewhere in Asia, Nikkei futures were up 0.4%.

On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund raised its global economic growth forecast to 6% this year, a rate unseen since the 1970s.

Strong economic data from China and the United States lifted oil prices by 1%, while a retreating dollar and lower U.S. Treasury yields boosted bullion.

While copper prices climbed on supply concerns after top producer Chile closed its borders following a spike in coronavirus infections.

Strong commodities lifted sentiment despite the pullback on Wall Street overnight. All three major U.S. stock indexes closed in the red, pulling back from the prior session’s record closing highs, while Treasury yields edged lower.

ASX 300 metals and mining index rose 0.67%, while the gold sub-index climbed 1%, led by Resolute Mining Ltd that advanced 4.4%.

Technology stocks rose 1.8%, led by EML Payments Ltd , up 10.7%, followed by NEXTDC Ltd that gained 3.6%.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.68% to 12,484.3.

The top percentage gainers in the benchmark index are Contact Energy Ltd, up 2.8%, followed by Pushpay Holdings Ltd and Air New Zealand Ltd that climbed 2.5% and 1.9%, respectively.

(Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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