March 1 (Reuters) - Australian shares hit a record high on Friday, fuelled by miners and gold stocks, while the U.S. inflation data bore no surprises with traders assessing Federal Reserve officials' comments earlier in the week on their monetary policy easing stance.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.51% to 7,737.80 by 2347 GMT. The benchmark ended 0.5% higher on Thursday.

Overnight data from the world's biggest economy showed U.S. inflation picked up in January, in line with expectations, while annual inflation was the lowest in three years.

Alluding to the data, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic's comments gave hopes to investors after he repeated his view that he sees the U.S. central bank cutting rates "in the summer months."

The rate-sensitive financials gained as much as 0.3%, with both National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia up about 0.5% each.

Heavyweight miners rose 1.4%, and were on track for their best day in more than a week, if gains hold. Mining giants BHP Group rose 1% while Pilbara Minerals gained 4.8%, hitting its highest level since Sept. 18.

Energy stocks gained 0.3% amid signs of weakening crude demand after the U.S. released positive inflation data.

Woodside Energy and Santos gained 0.7% and 0.8%, respectively.

Gold stocks advanced 1.7% after the U.S. inflation print came in line with expectations, leading to a drop in the dollar. The stocks were on track for their best week since Feb. 2, if current trend holds.

Australian information technology stocks rose 1.1%, while real estate shares lost 0.2%, heading for their second consecutive drop.

Bucking the upbeat mood, health stocks dropped 1.8%, set for their worst day in more than two weeks, if losses hold.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index lost 0.3% to 11,705.73.

(Reporting by Rajasik Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)