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Miners, banks lift Australian shares to over two-month high

08/10/2022 | 09:11pm

Aug 11 (Reuters) - Australian shares hit a more than two-month high on Thursday, boosted by banking and mining stocks, a day after signs of sharply decelerating U.S. inflation raised hopes the Federal Reserve will become less aggressive on interest rate hikes.

The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.9% to 7,056.20 by 0036 GMT, its highest level since June 9. The benchmark closed 0.5% lower on Wednesday.

In other key markets, Japan's Nikkei fell 0.7% to 27,819.33, while S&P 500 E-minis futures inched up 0.2%.

Data on Wednesday showed that U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in July, prompting bets that the Fed will likely hike rates at a slower pace than previously expected.

In Australia, financials advanced 0.9%. The country's four largest banks added between 0.6% and 1.3%.

Miners climbed 1% even as iron ore prices fell overnight due to uncertainty over demand prospects in top steel producer China.

Among heavyweights, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals gained 1.1%, each, while rival Rio Tinto tumbled 3.2% on trading ex-dividend.

Technology stocks tracked their Wall Street counterparts higher to rise 2.2%. The sub-index was on track to mark its best say since Aug. 4.

Software maker Xero and WiseTech Global were up 2.6% and 3.3%, respectively.

Wealth manager AMP Ltd retreated 2.6%, following a drop of nearly a quarter in its half-year profit.

James Hardie Industries advanced 2.1%, after the Australian building materials giant said it was in the final stages of selecting a new chief executive officer.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.6% to 11,821.52.

The country's house prices fell in July with the median price recording its first annual fall since 2011, the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand said.

(Reporting by Upasana Singh; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

Reuters 2022
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