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Australia shares rise as Omicron fears ease, commodity stocks rally

12/07/2021 | 07:29pm EST

Dec 8 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Wednesday, led by mining and energy stocks on sharp rises in iron ore and oil prices, buoyed by hopes of limited disruption from the Omicron coronavirus variant.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.65% to 7,361.4 by 2338 GMT, set for extending gains for a fourth straight session. The benchmark ended 0.95% higher on Tuesday.

The gains also come a day after the central bank retained interest rates at 0.1%, keeping the economy flush with cash to allow a full economic recovery from the pandemic.

Mining stocks rose as much as 2.2% to hit a two-month high, after a strong rally in benchmark iron ore futures.

BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue all jumped between 2.5% and 3.5% each.

Energy stocks advanced as much as 2.1% after oil prices surged more than 3% overnight, building on a nearly 5% rise the previous day as Omicron fears eased.

Woodside Petroleum gained as much as 2.2%, after the country's biggest independent oil and gas company said it would invest $5 billion in new energy products to curb its emmissions.

The merger of oil majors Santos and Oil Search received the approval of Papua New Guinea's competition regulator, sending shares of the companies up as much as 4% and 3.7%, respectively.

Tech stocks jumped as much as 2.2% in their best session in nearly two weeks, tracking a tech-powered rally on Wall Street.

Afterpay climbed as much as 4.5%, while Xero and Wisetech Global gained 2.1% and 3.1%, respectively.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index was up 1.09% to 12,747.24 by 2338 GMT.

($1 = 1.4051 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Harshita Swaminathan; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AFTERPAY LIMITED -0.73% 67.95 Delayed Quote.-18.14%
BHP GROUP 1.19% 46.7 Delayed Quote.11.20%
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED -0.10% 20.75 Delayed Quote.8.12%
OIL SEARCH -2.42% 4.04 End-of-day quote.0.00%
S&P 500 -1.65% 4585.11 Delayed Quote.-2.17%
SANTOS LIMITED 0.14% 7.07 Delayed Quote.11.89%
WISETECH GLOBAL LIMITED -0.06% 54.06 Delayed Quote.-7.66%
WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LTD -0.16% 25.2 Delayed Quote.15.09%
XERO LIMITED 0.79% 120.56 Delayed Quote.-15.43%
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