* Tech shares top gainer on index
* Energy stocks cap gains on ASX 200
* Iress Ltd marks best session ever
June 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Thursday, led
by technology and banking stocks, while global markets closely
watched for U.S inflation data for clues on how soon the Federal
Reserve will start tapering its massive stimulus.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.4% higher at 7,302.5,
a day after ending 0.3% lower.
Technology stocks were the best performers on the
benchmark index, jumping 2% to close at a more than one-month
Buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay Ltd gained 1%,
while Iress Ltd marked its best session ever after
local media reported that investment bank Barrenjoey was
interested in buying a stake in the financial technology
Brad Smoling, managing director at Smoling Stockbreaking,
said the jump in tech stocks was not predicated on anything
significant and that stocks like Afterpay were over-priced.
"I do think that the CPI figure is going to be on higher
side, in which case we will see a tech sell-off," he warned.
Banks rose 0.4%, with three of the so-called "Big
Four" closing in positive territory.
Domestic gold stocks recorded gains, even as bullion
prices remained largely subdued, with investors turning cautious
ahead of the U.S. inflation data and a European Central Bank
Andromeda Metals surged 20.9% to close at its
highest since April 21 after signing a binding offtake agreement
with China-based Jiangsu Mineral Sources International Trading
Energy stocks fell 1.1% and capped gains on the
index, as oil prices fell on weaker-than-expected fuel demand.
Major oil and gas explorers Santos Ltd and Woodside
Petroleum Ltd fell 0.9% and 1.5% respectively, with the
latter recording its worst session since May 21.
Shipbuilder Austal Ltd closed at a near one-week
low after the country's corporate regulator launched a legal
action for alleged disclosure breaches.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.4%
lower at 12,518.01.
(Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj