June 23 (Reuters) - Australian equities climbed on Thursday
after closing slightly lower in the previous session, as gains
in financial and tech stocks outweighed losses in mining and
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.59% to 6,546.7 by 0059
GMT. The benchmark had ended 0.23% lower on Wednesday.
Wall Street's main indexes had erased losses overnight after
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's comments on the central
bank's aim to bring down inflation, but then they faded into the
Recession worries, however, appear to be paradoxically
supporting the stock market by halting the climb in bond yields,
which relieves concerns about share market valuations.
In Australia, financials advanced 1.1%, with the
"Big Four" banks trading in positive territory. Commonwealth
Bank of Australia, the country's biggest lender,
climbed 0.5%, while National Australia Bank led the
gains, with a rise of 1.3% to a near two-week high.
Tech stocks jumped the most in a week, climbing
2.1%. ASX-listed shares of Block Inc advanced 4.3% to
hit their highest in a week, while battery materials and tech
firm Novonix surged 3.1%.
Energy stocks skidded 2.5% to be the biggest
laggards on the main index, after oil prices tumbled overnight
as investors worried that Fed rate hikes could push the U.S.
economy into recession, dampening demand for fuel.
Sector heavyweights Woodside Energy and Santos
declined 3.5% and 3.3%, respectively, with Santos
hitting its lowest since March 17.
Mining stocks fell 2.1% after benchmark iron ore
futures tumbled on Wednesday as worries grew about steel
oversupply in China, the world's biggest producer of the
manufacturing and construction material.
Sector heavyweights BHP Group, Rio Tinto
and Fortescue dropped between 3.3% and 5.1%, with
Fortescue hitting its lowest since Nov. 29.
Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50
index rose 0.95% to 10,780.4.
(Reporting by Riya Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu