* ASX cites investigation on 'market data issues'
* Buy-now-pay-later stocks subdued after regulator's report
* NZ index on track for a 10-session winning streak
Nov 16 (Reuters) - Trading on the Australian Securities
Exchange was halted on Monday as the stock exchange operator
cited "market data issues", shortly after shares touched their
highest in more than eight months.
The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 1.3% at 6,487.30, its
highest since March 8. The index was riding high on vaccine
optimism that offset worries about fresh lockdowns globally and
helped most Asian markets start the week on firm ground.
"The ASX equity market is currently paused and there is no
trading while we investigate market data issues," ASX said https://bit.ly/35yCzXH
on Twitter without giving more details, but said it was working
to rectify the issue as soon as possible.
Prior to the trading halt, financial stocks fuelled index
gains, with the country's so-called "Big Four" banks trading up
as much as 3%.
Fund managers Pendal Group and Challenger Ltd
each added around 3%.
Brent crude futures rose 0.4%, boosting energy
stocks. Papua New Guinea-focused Oil Search Ltd
rose 3%, while sector heavyweight Woodside Petroleum
A 0.2% rise in Chinese iron ore futures helped the
index's heavyweight miners, with BHP Group Ltd adding
2.1% and rival Rio Tinto Ltd climbing 1.8%.
A spike in South Australia's new coronavirus cases, however,
caused a neighbouring state to reimpose border controls and the
federal government to offer help.
Buy-now-pay-later stocks were subdued after the country's
financial regulator published a long-anticipated report on the
sector that showed one in five consumers were missing payments
and some were facing financial hardship.
Sector leader Afterpay Ltd eased 1.6% while Zip Co
Ltd lost 1.3%.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 1.2%
to hit a record high at 12,854.50, on track for its 10
consecutive session of gains.
Air New Zealand was among top gainers with a 3.5%
rise, while Ryman Healthcare added 2.5%.
(Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry