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Australian shares eye best week in four as U.S. election results trickle in

11/05/2020 | 07:46pm

(Corrects weekly milestone in first paragraph and headline to best in four)

* Gold stocks rise most in over 4 months

* Macquarie Group beats 1H21 guidance

* NZ share rise most in nearly a month

Nov 6 (Reuters) - Australian shares rallied on Friday and headed for their biggest weekly gain in four, as they tracked global equities on increased expectations that a divided U.S. Congress could hurt plans for higher corporate taxes.

Gold and mining stocks propelled the S&P/ASX 200 index 0.5% higher to 6,172.5 by 0008 GMT. For the week, it is poised to gain about 4.2%.

Equity markets have gained this week despite uncertainty around the U.S. presidential race, as investors hoped a mixed Congress during a possible Joe Biden presidency would make big policy changes hard to enact.

Biden was edging closer to victory after winning Michigan and Wisconsin, but his Democratic Party appeared unlikely to win the Senate. That eased investor worries about tighter regulations on Big Tech and a corporate tax hike.

The gold index surged 4.5%, its biggest one-day rise since June 22, as bullion prices rallied on a weaker dollar following growing prospects of a Biden win.

Top gold producer Newcrest Mining Ltd added 3.6% and Ocean Corp climbed 6.8%.

Underpinning positive sentiment in gold stocks, miners rose 2.1%.

Financial stocks found support from investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd's first-half profit, which was ahead of its expectations. Its shares gained 3%.

A subindex of tech stocks followed its U.S. peers higher, led by Wise Tech Global Ltd, up 3.8%.

The number of issues on the AS that advanced were 964 while 390 declined as a 2.5-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index climbed by its most in nearly a month, rising 1.2% to 12,392.3.

Financials and utilities drove gains in the Wellington bourse, with dairy products maker Synaptic Milk jumping as much as 11% after settling a land dispute. (Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

© Reuters 2021
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