March 13 (Reuters) - Australian shares inched higher on Wednesday, as the gains in financials offset a decline in commodity stocks, while a slightly hotter-than-expected U.S. inflation print failed to temper interest rate cut hopes.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2% points to 7,729.20 by 0025 GMT. The benchmark rose 0.1% in the previous session.

Data on Tuesday showed the U.S. consumer price index, a key measure for inflation, increased 3.2% in February year on year, above economists' estimate of 3.1%. However, markets continue to expect the Federal Reserve to cut rates in June.

In Sydney, banks were up 0.7%, with the top four lenders gaining between 0.1% and 1.4%.

National Australia Bank was up 0.7%, after an Australian regulator removed its $330 million operational capital add-on requirement.

Miners lost 0.6%, as iron ore prices extended declines.

Mining behemoths BHP and Fortescue dropped 0.9% and 0.6%, respectively.

Liontown Resources rose as much as 18.3%, on track for its best day since late March, 2023, after the lithium miner announced a $363 million debt facility for a ramp-up of its Kathleen Valley project.

Gold miners dropped 1.9%, as bullion prices remained under pressure following U.S. inflation data.

Northern Star Resources lost 1.4%, while the ASX-listed shares of Newmont Corporation slipped 2.6%.

Energy stocks were down 0.2% after oil prices settled lower on a higher-than-expected forecast for U.S. crude oil production.

Technology companies fell 0.2%, with Appen losing as much as 21.3%, its biggest intraday decline since Jan. 22, after the artificial intelligence firm received a buyout offer from Innodata.

Treasury Wine Estates jumped as much as 3.3% to hit its highest level since May 24, as the winemaker announced that a Chinese ministry proposed removal of its tariffs on Australian wines.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.3% to 11,797.77.

(Reporting by Aaditya Govind Rao in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)