* Square to buy Afterpay for $29 bln
* Oil Search backs $6.9 bln Santos bid
* Tech posts biggest gain since late March 2020
Aug 2 (Reuters) - Australian stocks jumped to a record close
on Monday, with buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay leading the
charge after it agreed to a $29 billion buyout by Jack Dorsey's
Square Inc in the country's largest ever deal that also sent its
The benchmark ASX 200 index closed 1.3% higher at
7,491.4, after rising to 7,506.30 in intraday trading.
Afterpay settled 19.5% higher after payments firm
Square agreed to buy it, creating a global transactions
giant and tapping an industry that has boomed over the past
"There is a lot more competition now in the BNPL space as we
have got more banks and competitors overseas from Apple to
Paypal," said Steven Daghlian, a market analyst at CommSec.
"We can see competitors listing as well, which could lead to
more M&A activity potentially in that space, with Square also
listing on the Australian share market if (the deal) goes
Tech stocks jumped 6.5% in their best session since
late March 2020, while financials rose 1.9% to their
highest close since June 22, with all the "Big Four" banks in
Australia's No.2 BNPL firm, Zip Co Ltd, gained 9%.
In a day dominated by news on deals, Oil Search
added 4.7%, leading gains among energy stocks, after it backed a
sweetened $6.2 billion takeover bid by Santos Ltd
Miners swung between gains and losses throughout the
session to end up 0.1% amid weaker iron ore prices, with
Fortescue Metals easing 2.1%.
Investors now await a meeting of the Reserve Bank of
Australia on Tuesday where analysts expect the central bank to
reverse last month's decision to taper its weekly bond buying
Across the Tasman sea, New Zealand's NZX 50 index
climbed 0.9% to 12,702.97, with logistics firm Mainfreight Ltd
being the top gainer with a rise of 3.5%.
(Reporting by Yamini C S in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu