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Australia shares extend gains to third day on gold, energy boost

05/24/2021 | 03:02am EDT

* Gold stocks hit highest close since Jan. 8

* "Big Four" banks up between 0.6% and 1.2%

* Miners down for fourth straight session

May 24 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed slightly higher on Monday, helped by gains in gold and energy stocks as underlying commodity prices rose, although heavyweight miners were weighed down by a slump in Asia's iron ore futures.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.2% at 7,045.9, extending gains into a third session.

"Australian markets are subdued, perhaps with one eye on China's commodity price displeasure," Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a note.

China's state planner has warned against commodity price manipulation, sparking a sell-off in Asia's iron ore futures, and dragging Australian miners to their lowest since mid-April.

The Australian mining trio of BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group slipped between 2% and 4.3%.

Gold stocks led the gains with a rise of 2.2%. The sub-index hit its highest close in more than four months, as bullion prices hovered near a 4-1/2-month high.

Index heavyweights Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources gained 2.7% and 0.9%, respectively.

Energy stocks tracked an uptick in oil prices and closed 1.1% higher. Woodside Petroleum jumped 1%, while Santos added 2.3%.

Financial stocks closed higher for a third straight session, marking their best finish in three months. The "big four" banks added between 0.6% and 1.2%.

Tech stocks jumped 0.2%, while the healthcare sector added 1.5%.

Online retailer Kogan.com was the top gainer on the benchmark with a near 14% jump, as bargain hunters snapped up the stock after Friday's plunge.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed down 0.1% at 12,449.0. Synlait Milk fell 1.6% after it forecast an annual loss. (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BHP GROUP 2.79% 53.36 End-of-day quote.25.76%
CLASS III MILK FUTURES (DC) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 0.06% 16.54 End-of-day quote.5.00%
CLASS IV MILK?FUTURES (GDK) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 0.19% 15.96 End-of-day quote.15.74%
DRY WHEY?FUTURES (DY) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 0.42% 60.45 End-of-day quote.36.20%
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED 1.57% 25.82 End-of-day quote.10.20%
LONDON BRENT OIL -0.60% 74.26 Delayed Quote.44.68%
NEWCREST MINING LIMITED 0.47% 25.88 End-of-day quote.0.39%
NONFAT DRY MILK FUTURES (GNF) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 0.00% 125.325 End-of-day quote.11.01%
NORTHERN STAR RESOURCES LIMITED -1.41% 9.81 End-of-day quote.-22.70%
S&P GSCI CLASS III MILK (USD) -0.72% 126.4996 Delayed Quote.-4.06%
SANTOS LIMITED 1.39% 6.55 End-of-day quote.4.47%
SYNLAIT MILK LIMITED 1.08% 3.75 End-of-day quote.-28.30%
WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LTD 1.86% 22.46 End-of-day quote.-1.23%
WTI -0.99% 71.391 Delayed Quote.50.10%
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