Tue, May 05, 2020 – 9:48 AM

[BENGALURU] Australian shares rose on Tuesday as a technology stocks-driven rally on Wall Street helped lift investor sentiment and soothe worries over a recent spike in Sino-US tensions, while signs of an improvement in local consumer confidence also helped.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.98 per cent to 5,372.1 by 0010 GMT, building on Monday’s 1.4 per cent climb to regain some ground lost at the end of last week.

Overnight, US stocks locked in firm gains, boosted by a rally in major technology companies that helped snap two straight sessions of losses dominated by fears of fresh US tariffs against China over the coronavirus’ origin.

Aiding investor sentiment, a survey by Australia and New Zealand Bank showed that the mood among Australian consumers improved in the latest week, as talks of easing the economic lockdown helped lift spending from very depressed levels.

James Hardie Industries and Qantas Airways were among the top percentage gainers on the benchmark, rising as much as 7.2 per cent and 5.6 per cent, respectively.

Investors cheered a plan by James Hardie to slash capital spending and cancel dividend payouts, as the fibre cement maker vowed to weather rising costs due to coronavirus-led restrictions.

Meanwhile, Qantas said it would extend flight cancellations into June and July and added that it had enough funding to support the airline through to the end of 2021 even if weak trading conditions due to the coronavirus prolongs.

The news was a welcome relief to investors, after smaller rival Virgin Australia Holdings entered voluntary administration last month.

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Oil prices clocked firm gains and held steady above US$20 per barrel overnight, helping energy stocks add nearly 2 per cent.

Financial and metals and mining stocks climbed more than 1 per cent each, while gold stocks also clocked firm gains.

The number of issues on the ASX that advanced were 580 while 184 declined as a 3.2-to-1 ratio favoured advancers. There were 35 new highs and 28 new lows.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.45 per cent to 10,522.6, with outdoor clothing retailer Kathmandu Holdings gaining the most on the index.

REUTERS





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