Australian shares track Wall Street higher; post biggest weekly loss in 11

05/14/2021 | 03:15am

* Whitehaven Coal ends 9.4% higher, top gainer on ASX200

* CBA tracks Wall Street peers to hit record high

* NZ50 end lower for eighth session in a row

May 14 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended higher on Friday, led by gains in banks and energy stocks, tracking an overnight Wall Street rebound, but the benchmark index posted its biggest weekly drop in 11 weeks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.5% higher at 7,014.2, after three days of heavy losses. For the week, it ended 0.9% lower, its biggest weekly drop since Feb.26.

After inflation fears led to volatility all week in markets, global equities took cues from the Wall Street to march higher, with investors buying back growth stocks.

Australia's heavyweight financial subindex ended nearly 1% higher, with top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia hitting a record high.

"Last night's U.S. rebound was led by financials. ..that seems to be reflected in the ASX," said Brad Smoling, managing director at Smoling Stockbroking.

"Even if we do have inflationary issues, financials are perceived to be the ones that will still be okay."

Lender Westpac, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and National Australia Bank ended up between 0.9% and 1%.

Energy stocks led gains on the benchmark, finishing 1.7% higher after shedding nearly 2% over the week.

Oil prices were subdued, however, analysts at IG sounded optimism over Colonial Pipeline reopening since it could ease the gasoline shortage situation.

The country's largest independent coal miner Whitehaven Coal led gains on the subindex as well as on the benchmark, gaining up to 10.4%, notching its biggest intraday percentage jump in more than five months.

But miners lost 1.6% as iron ore prices dived.

Global titan BHP Group lost 1.6%, while Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals fell nearly 2% and 2.8%, respectively.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.5% lower at 12,367.86, falling for an eighth straight session and posting its worst weekly performance since Feb. 12.

Movie software maker Vista Group and Synlait Milk were the top losers. (Reporting by Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

© Reuters 2022
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