Dec 3 (Reuters) - Australian shares gained ground on Friday,
as the initial shock of the Omicron coronavirus variant weaned
away and the market looked to recoup some of its losses from
earlier in the week when the new variant cases were reported in
The benchmark S&P ASX 200 index was up 0.33% at
7,249.1 by 2351 GMT, but was on track to lose 0.6% for the week
in its fourth weekly loss.
Heavyweight miners lifted the index, surging as much
as 1.9%, with blue-chip miners BHP Group, Rio Rinto
and Fortescue advancing between 2% and 3.5%.
Banks gained about 0.8%, rising for a fourth
straight session, with all the "Big Four" banks trading in the
Top two lenders Commonwealth Bank of Australia and
National Australia Bank gained more than 1% each.
Oil stocks, too, rose as much as 1.6% after oil
prices settled more than 1% higher overnight. Oil Search
climbed as much as 2.5%, while Woodside Petroleum
and Santos Ltd gained about 1.7% each.
Bucking the trend, gold stocks lost as much as 2.1%
as bullion prices hit a one-month low on fears that the U.S.
Federal Reserve would raise interest rates earlier than
Newcrest Mining fell as much as 2.4% to a two-month
low, and Northern Star Resources shed up to 1.8%.
Biotech giant and Australia's fourth largest company by
market value CSL Ltd declined more than 1%. According
to media reports https://www.reuters.com/markets/deals/australias-csl-exclusive-talks-buy-swiss-vifor-pharma-report-2021-12-02,
CSL is in exclusive talks to buy Swiss drugmaker Vifor Pharma
in a A$10 billion ($7.09 billion) deal.
However, both CSL and Vifor declined to comment on the media
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50
index rose 0.21% to 12,697.
($1 = 1.4110 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Harshita Swaminathan; Editing by Rashmi Aich)