* BHP hits over 10-mth high, Rio highest since 2008
* Fortescue Metals hits record high
* Macquarie slips on Waddell & Reed Financial buy for $1.7
* Qantas says will reach 68% of pre-COVID capacity in Dec
Dec 3 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Thursday as
miners almost single-handedly lifted the index, buoyed by a
rally in iron ore prices and a downgraded full-year iron ore
forecast by Brazilian mining rival Vale.
Rising iron ore prices owing to a strong demand for the
steel-making ingredient in China, Australia's top trading
partner, had Aussie miners extending gains into a third
session, jumping 3.4% to over three months high.
BHP Group hit an over 10-month high, Rio Tinto
surged to its highest since May 2008, and Fortescue
Metals Group hit a record high on rising iron ore
prices and lowered full-year iron ore forecast by Brazilian
rival Vale SA, expected to benefit the Aussie miners.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.4% to 6,616.8 by 2330
GMT, on track for its third straight gain session.
Among losers, financials were down 0.3% with three
of the four top banks trading in the red.
Conglomerate Macquarie Group declined 0.7% on
acquisition of U.S.-based investment management firm Waddell &
Reed Financial Inc for $1.7 billion.
Qantas Airways said the reopening of Australian
state borders would boost its financial position and allow it to
return to 68% of pre-pandemic domestic capacity in December, and
nearly to 80% in the March quarter. However, shares slipped up
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50
index edged lower, after advancing up to 0.4% in the
Gains in financials and utilities were offset by healthcare
Meanwhile, New Zealand's building consents in October rose a
seasonally adjusted 8.8%, compared with a 3.6% rise in the
(Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by David