Jan 13 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed higher on
Thursday, as energy and mining stocks found support from strong
commodity prices, while troubled casino operator Crown Resorts
soared 9% after U.S. private-equity firm Blackstone sweetened
its takeover offer.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.5% higher at 7,474.4,
extending gains to a second straight session.
Limiting the gains was caution among investors after latest
U.S. inflation data showed surging price pressures could
reinforce bets that the Federal Reserve will soon be raising
Investors appeared to show scant response to reports that
Australia saw its biggest pandemic case-load with a runaway
Omicron outbreak driving up hospitalisation rates as the surge
continues to put severe strain on supply chains.
Shares of Crown Resorts jumped to a seven-month
high after the company said its board was likely to back an
improved A$8.87 billion ($6.46 billion) buyout proposal by
"I think we're getting down to the brass tacks now. We're
getting down to a figure that you either take it or they'll walk
away," said Brad Smoling, managing director at Smoling
In their fifth session of gains, miners were the top
gainers with a nearly 3% climb to their highest levels since
Nickel Mines and IGO rose 5.2% and 3.8%,
respectively, as prices of the metal soared amid supply fears.
Energy stocks jumped as much 1.5% to their highest
level in more than two months, tracking gains in oil prices.
Australia's biggest oil and gas firms Woodside Petroleum
and Santos jumped 2.3% and 1.6%, respectively.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index edged 0.18%
higher to 12,826.99 with corporate travel and expense service
provider Serko up 4.8%.
($1 = 1.3725 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Navya Mittal and Harshita Swaminathan in
Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)