* Tech stocks finish at all-time high
* Effective unemployment forecast weighs
* NZ extends Auckland lockdown
Aug 24 (Reuters) - Australian shares settled higher on
Monday, with tech stocks ending at a record peak while a
significant slowdown in fresh daily coronavirus cases fuelled
hopes that a deadly second wave may be on the wane.
The country's second-most populous state of Victoria
reported its smallest daily rise in fresh COVID-19 cases in
seven weeks following strict lockdown curbs.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3% to 6,129.60,
snapping two straight sessions of losses.
However, investor optimism was dulled to a degree by
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's forecast that effective unemployment
in Australia would breach 13% by the end of September amid
"Though real unemployment rates are likely a lot higher,
government payments, including JobKeeper and JobSeeker, have
kept people employed but can't go on forever," said Simon
Herrmann, an equity analyst at Wise-Owl.com.
"There are significant risks to the real economy but the
stock-market party continues as if nothing has happened, that
can't be healthy in the long run."
Technology stocks jumped 3.2%, tracking the
tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite's record finish on Friday.
Afterpay, the biggest stock on the sub-index,
advanced 4.8% after the buy-now-pay later firm said it would
acquire Spain-based Pagantis and expand into Europe.
Heavyweight miners tacked on 0.6%, with Fortescue
Metals Group and BHP Group adding 3.2% and
Top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia eased 1%,
making it the biggest loser among financials. The rest
of the "Big Four" banks also ended lower.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index climbed
0.7% to finish the session at 11,921.07.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern extended a coronavirus
lockdown in Auckland until the end of the week in a bid to
enable the country to gradually rollback its scale of emergency
(Reporting by Arpit Nayak in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu