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Gains in miners, banks lift Australian shares

10/20/2021 | 09:27pm EST

Oct 21 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Thursday as banks gained and firm commodity prices boosted metal-centric stocks, with sentiment aided by the country's second-largest city preparing to come out of the world's longest COVID-19 lockdown.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.15% to 7,425.1 by 0052 GMT. The benchmark rose about 0.53% on Wednesday.

Melbourne is readying to come out of its lockdown on Thursday night after Victoria state hit a key vaccination target, with pubs, restaurants and cafes racing to reopen their doors to fully vaccinated customers.

Among the "Big Four" banks, National Australia Bank climbed the most and hit its highest in about two years. The sector's sub-index added 0.4%.

Wealth manager Perpetual Ltd was the top gainer on the financials sub-index, gaining 6.3%. Wealth manager AMP Ltd followed with its 5.4% to hit a more than 3-1/2-month high on reporting lower net cash outflows at its Australian wealth management unit.

Gambling machine manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure jumped 7.9% to a record high after the company said it would buy London-listed gaming software supplier Playtech PLC for 2.1 billion pounds ($2.90 billion).

Miners rose 0.6%, tracking an overnight rally in base metals on concerns that the global power crunch could hit already thinning inventories.

The country's big mining names BHP Group and Fortescue Metals climbed 0.7% and 1%, respectively, on improved iron ore prices.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.16% to 13,093.6. Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.6%, while S&P 500 E-minis futures slipped 0.18%.

($1 = 0.7233 pounds) (Reporting by Riya Sharma in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AMP LIMITED -4.08% 0.94 End-of-day quote.-39.74%
ARISTOCRAT LEISURE LIMITED 0.16% 43.77 End-of-day quote.41.19%
BHP GROUP -0.48% 39.71 End-of-day quote.-6.41%
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED -0.12% 17.25 End-of-day quote.-26.38%
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED 0.80% 27.6 End-of-day quote.22.12%
PERPETUAL LIMITED -0.68% 33.7 End-of-day quote.-3.05%
PLAYTECH PLC 0.13% 745.5 Delayed Quote.85.52%
RIO TINTO PLC -1.86% 4638.5 Delayed Quote.-13.69%
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