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Tech stocks help Australian shares post first weekly gain in five

05/20/2022 | 03:10am

* Tech stocks mark 1st weekly gain in seven

* Gold stocks snap four weeks of losses

* NZX 50 posts first weekly rise in four

May 20 (Reuters) - Australian shares jumped on Friday to post their first weekly rise in five as investors snapped up beaten-down tech stocks, although concerns ahead of federal elections limited the gains.

The S&P/ASX 200 index bounced back from Thursday's losses to close 1.2% higher at 7,064.5, rising 1% for the week.

Australians vote on Saturday in a national election, with the conservative Liberal-National coalition seeking a fourth straight term and the Labor Party seeking a return to power after nine years in opposition.

Opinion polls have shown the Labor party leading, but the gap has narrowed in the final weeks of campaigning.

After the country's unemployment rate fell to its lowest in almost 50 years last month, wages growth and staff shortages remain key discussion points for competing parties in this election.

In the 11 elections held since 1990, the All Ordinaries Index climbed by an average of 1.2% in the 15 trading days after the poll date, research by CommSec found.

"I suspect investors may prefer a (current Prime Minister) Scott Morrison win from a back pocket point of view," said Henry Jennings, a senior analyst at Marcustoday Financial Newsletter.

Leading gains on the bourse, tech stocks rallied 4.6%, hitting their highest since May 9 and clocking their first weekly gain in seven. ASX-listed shares of Block jumped 9.5%, while software company Xero rose 2.8%.

Miners surged 2.6% to mark their best week since late March, while gold stocks climbed 3.7% to post a weekly gain after four weeks of losses.

Among individual stocks, miner IGO surged 5% after it said it had produced the country's first battery-grade lithium hydroxide, a critical input for electric-vehicle batteries.

Supermarket chain Woolworths gained 0.5% after it offered to buy an 80% stake in online retailer MyDeal.com for A$217.4 million ($152.98 million).

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.5% higher at 11,206.9, posting its first weekly rise in four. ($1 = 1.4211 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Roushni Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

© Reuters 2022
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