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Energy, gold stocks push Australian shares higher

05/16/2021 | 09:13pm EDT

May 17 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Monday, driven by gold stocks on higher bullion prices, while Ampol and Viva Energy lifted the energy index after both fuel suppliers received a massive government funding to keep their refineries open.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.4% at 7,038.5 points, as of 0057 GMT. While the benchmark gained 0.5% on Friday, it clocked its biggest weekly drop since Feb. 26.

Energy stocks rose as much as 2.1% and eyed their best session in nearly two months, benefiting from a jump in Ampol Ltd and Viva Energy, while higher oil prices also helped.

Ampol and Viva Energy were the top gainers on the benchmark after the government announced A$2.3 billion ($1.79 billion) in support to keep the last two oil refineries operated by the companies open at least until 2030.

Gold stocks gained as much as 4.1% after data showed U.S. retail sales unexpectedly stalled in April and boosted the safe-haven metal's appeal.

The sub-index was on track to record its best one-day gain since April 16.

Heavyweight gold miner Newcrest Mining rose as much as 2.6% to hit its highest in more than three weeks, while Northern Star Resources gained up to 5.3% and eyed its best session in two weeks.

A rebound in major Wall Street indexes, including the tech-heavy Nasdaq further aided sentiment.

Technology stocks in Australia rose 1%, with software maker Xero Ltd rising 4.4% and leading gains on the sub-index.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.4% to 12,412.34 points.

Skycity Entertainment and NZX Ltd were the top gainers on the benchmark, up around 2.4% each.

($1 = 1.2882 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AMPOL LIMITED 0.00% 28.78 End-of-day quote.1.27%
LONDON BRENT OIL -0.15% 71.1 Delayed Quote.39.85%
NASDAQ COMP. 0.78% 14895.117079 Real-time Quote.14.53%
NEWCREST MINING LIMITED -0.15% 26.64 End-of-day quote.3.34%
NEXTDC LIMITED -0.46% 13.09 End-of-day quote.7.03%
NORTHERN STAR RESOURCES LIMITED -0.68% 10.28 End-of-day quote.-18.99%
NZX LIMITED -1.08% 1.84 End-of-day quote.-6.12%
OIL REFINERIES LTD. -1.21% 0.733 End-of-day quote.0.69%
SKYCITY ENTERTAINMENT GROUP LIMITED 0.95% 3.2 End-of-day quote.-0.31%
VIVA ENERGY GROUP LIMITED -0.97% 2.05 End-of-day quote.7.33%
WTI -0.19% 68.911 Delayed Quote.46.07%
XERO LIMITED 2.21% 149.1 End-of-day quote.1.55%
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