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Australia shares rise on energy boost; set for second weekly loss on virus woes

07/01/2021 | 09:18pm EST

July 2 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose half a percent on Friday, lifted by energy stocks, but were on track to post a second straight week of losses as the country combats outbreaks of the Delta coronavirus variant.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.4% to 7,293.2 points by 0109 GMT.

Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei gained 0.3% and S&P 500 E-minis futures were up 0.1%.

Australia's benchmark index is set to fall 0.2% this week as the country battles the highly contagious Delta variant in three state capital cities, with nearly half of all Australians under strict stay-at-home orders.

Supporting sentiment on Friday, Wall Street's major indexes gained overnight, with the S&P 500 notching its sixth consecutive all-time closing high.

Domestically, energy stocks rose 1.4% and were the top percentage gainers on the benchmark and were on track to mark their best session in 10 days, benefiting from a 2% jump in oil prices.

The country's top independent gas producer Woodside Petroleum added 1.9% and fuel supplier Ampol Ltd gained 0.8%.

The heavyweight financials index gained nearly 0.7%, driven by gains in the "Big Four" banks.

Westpac Banking Corp, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group rose between 0.6% and 1%.

Australia's corporate regulator said Westpac expects to pay A$87 million ($64.96 million) to former customers of its advice business who were not given important updates on companies that they held shares in.

Miners were set to rise for a third consecutive day, with global miner BHP Ltd and Fortescue Metals Group rising about 0.3% each.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.1% to 12,671.26.

Payments platform operator Pushpay Holdings Ltd and Air New Zealand Ltd were among the top percentage losers on the bourse, losing 2.8% and 1.3%, respectively.

($1 = 1.3392 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AIR NEW ZEALAND LIMITED 0.67% 1.505 End-of-day quote.-16.39%
AMPOL LIMITED 0.67% 28.62 End-of-day quote.0.70%
ARGOSY PROPERTY LIMITED 1.01% 1.495 End-of-day quote.-5.97%
BHP GROUP 1.31% 40.23 End-of-day quote.-5.19%
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA 0.74% 96.61 End-of-day quote.17.66%
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED -0.87% 17.1 End-of-day quote.-27.02%
NIKKEI 225 1.00% 28029.57 Real-time Quote.1.13%
PUSHPAY HOLDINGS LIMITED 0.74% 1.36 End-of-day quote.-24.86%
S&P/ASX 200 0.22% 7241.2 Real-time Quote.9.69%
THE A2 MILK COMPANY LIMITED -2.37% 5.76 End-of-day quote.-52.28%
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION 1.17% 20.7 End-of-day quote.6.87%
WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LTD 1.14% 21.34 End-of-day quote.-6.16%
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