Australian shares inch higher on tech, banking boost

10/18/2021 | 08:58pm

Oct 19 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Tuesday, helped by technology and banking stocks, with sentiment aided by stronger global markets due to gains in U.S. mega-cap technology companies.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.27% to 7,400.9 by 0030 GMT, building on the benchmark's 0.26% jump on Monday.

Global stock markets mostly rose following strong advances in U.S. mega-cap technology and other growth names, reversing losses after a weak start due to disappointing Chinese economic data.

The Australian tech index rose 1.9%, tracking the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which enjoyed big boosts from FAANG stocks - Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Alphabet, Google - as well as Microsoft.

Software provider for logistics firms WiseTech Global Ltd led gains on the sub-index, advancing 2.7%, followed by heavyweight software-as-a-service firm Xero Ltd, gaining 2.6%.

Among the "Big Four" banks, the country's biggest lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia rose the most, climbing 0.5% and pushing the sub-index 0.4% higher.

Metals and miners were the only drags on the local bourse, falling 1.3%, after benchmark iron ore futures tumbled 2.3% overnight.

The country's major mining firms BHP Group, Rio Tinto, and Fortescue Metals skidded 1.9%-2.4%.

BHP also posted a near 5% drop in first-quarter iron ore output due to maintenance work at its Jimblebar mine and a shortage of rail labour.

Logistics firm Brambles climbed 3.9% to mark its best day in nearly a year after reporting a surge in quarterly revenue and providing upbeat annual outlook.

Gaming giant Tabcorp tumbled 1.7% after reporting that it is planning to split its businesses by mid-2022, with one-off cash costs of between A$225 million ($166.97 million) and A$275 million.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.22% to 13,026.6. Elsewhere, S&P 500 E-minis futures were up 0.06%.

($1 = 1.3475 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Riya Sharma in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

© Reuters 2022
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