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Australia shares hit record high as CBA gains ahead of results

08/10/2021 | 03:16am EDT

(Updates to close)

* ASX 200 closes at record high

* Tech stocks lead gains; gold shares drag

* CBA rallies for fifth straight session

Aug 10 (Reuters) - Technology companies helped Australian stocks scale an all-time high on Tuesday, as Commonwealth Bank rose ahead of its earnings, although worries over the spread of COVID-19 infections in the country capped gains on the main index.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.3% higher at a record 7,562.6 points. The benchmark has closed at a record high in five of the seven sessions this month.

The market is being hit by the New South Wales coronavirus case numbers, said Henry Jennings, senior analyst at the Marcustoday Financial Newsletter.

New South Wales state reported 356 locally acquired cases of COVID-19, its biggest daily rise in the pandemic, as officials scramble to contain the virus that has now spread to the northern parts of the state.

Investor focus is now on companies' results as the earnings season kicked off this week.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia rose 1.5%, extending a four-day winning streak, ahead of its annual results on Wednesday, when it is expected to announce a large share buyback.

Its peer Westpac Banking Corp also gained nearly 1%.

The world's largest fibre cement maker, James Hardie Industries, rose 5.8% to hit a record high after raising its annual profit forecast range, supported by a booming U.S. housing market.

Tech stocks were among the top gainers, with buy now, pay later pioneer Afterpay leading gains and ending the session with a 3.2% rise.

Gold stocks were the biggest drags on the index, falling 1.5%, after the precious metal slumped to a more than four-month low overnight.

Lithium miners Pilbara Minerals and Orocobre Ltd were among the biggest percentage gainers on the benchmark index, rising about 11% and 8.7%, respectively.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.5% to 12,764.2 points.

($1 = 1.3641 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

© Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AFTERPAY LIMITED -0.26% 126 End-of-day quote.6.78%
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA -0.07% 104.88 End-of-day quote.27.73%
HUB24 LIMITED 0.12% 32.59 End-of-day quote.52.72%
JAMES HARDIE INDUSTRIES PLC 1.18% 52.51 End-of-day quote.37.39%
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED -0.14% 28.86 End-of-day quote.27.70%
NEWCREST MINING LIMITED 0.08% 24.94 End-of-day quote.-3.26%
NORTHERN STAR RESOURCES LIMITED 0.53% 9.48 End-of-day quote.-25.30%
OROCOBRE LIMITED 1.44% 9.15 End-of-day quote.104.70%
PILBARA MINERALS LIMITED -2.34% 2.09 End-of-day quote.140.23%
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION -0.35% 25.74 End-of-day quote.32.89%
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