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Australasia, News

Australia shares hit 13-mth high on gold, tech boost; NZ rises on record low rates

* Gold, tech stocks lead gains on Aussie benchmark

* RBNZ holds cash rate at 0.25%, as expected

* NZX 50 index rose 0.8%

By Riya Sharma

April 14 (Reuters) – Australian shares climbed to a 13-month peak on Wednesday, led by gains in gold stocks and technology firms, while New Zealand’s benchmark bourse hit a near two-month high after the central bank left interest rates at a record low.

The S&P/ASX 200 settled 0.7% higher at 7,023.1 points, its highest closing since Feb. 20, 2020.

Equity markets across Asia took Tuesday’s U.S. inflation data in stride, betting that consumer prices were not rising wildly.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has already said that the central bank sees rising inflation as transitory and is not looking to hike rates earlier-than-expected.

“It would have taken a much higher CPI print to shake market confidence and the momentum of the U.S. recovery, with the worst is over… buy everything momentum seemingly achieving escape velocity,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific, at OANDA.

Gold subindex posted its biggest jump since Jan. 4 as bullion prices, a traditional hedge against inflation, rebounded from a more than one-week low. Newcrest, the country’s largest gold miner, added 4.2%.

Resolute Mining soared more than 20%, its biggest surge in more than a year, as a lease for its Bibiani gold mine in Ghana was restored after being terminated last month.

Technology stocks also surged 2.1% on the back of the U.S. consumer price data, tracking overnight gains on the Nasdaq.

Buy now, pay later bellwether and index heavyweight Afterpay jumped as much as 3.6% to its highest level in over six weeks.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 rose 0.8% to 12,751.4, its highest closing level since Feb. 18. (Reporting by Riya Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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