Aug 4 (Reuters) - Australian shares hit their highest level
in around two months on Thursday, tracking global sentiment on
upbeat economic data and U.S. corporate earnings, with gains
from banking and technology stocks countering losses from the
The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.7% at 7021.1, as of
0030 GMT, scaling to its highest since June 9. The benchmark
closed 0.3% lower on Wednesday.
Risk appetite across geographies improved after economic
data from the United States indicated easing of supply
bottlenecks and price pressures.
Geopolitical tensions soothed after U.S. House of
Representatives Nancy Pelosi wrapped up a brief visit to Taiwan,
further supporting investor confidence.
Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei rose 0.9%, while S&P 500
E-minis futures fell 0.05%.
Domestic technology stocks led the gains in the
benchmark, adding more than 2% as they tracked an overnight
rally on Wall Street.
Sector majors ASX-listed shares of Block Inc soared
more than 10%, while Xero Ltd climbed 2.8%.
Financials added 1% with all of the "Big Four" banks
trading in positive territory.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia raised its home loan
variable interest rates by 50 basis points per annum, matching
the central bank's rate hike earlier this week.
The miners and mining sub-index inched lower with
heavyweight BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue
Metals Group shedding between 0.7% to 1.6%.
Energy stocks slumped more than 1%, after oil prices
slid overnight following U.S. data that showed crude and
stockpiles unexpectedly surged last week.
Heavyweights Santos and Woodside Energy Group
fell 0.9% and 1.7%, respectively.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose
0.6% to 11,774.81.
(Reporting by Jaskiran Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry