* Australia financials record highest level since March 5
* Australian energy stocks gain for third session
* NZ's Fletcher Building records highest level in over 2
Nov 25(Reuters) - Australia shares finished higher on
Wednesday, lifted by the formal start of U.S. President-elect
Joe Biden's transition to the White House and as investors also
expect a swift economic revival on coronavirus vaccine progress.
The S&P/ASX 200 index finished 0.6% higher at
"Thanks to the multiple vaccines in the pipeline, "Joy to
the World" is ringing in earlier than expected", Stephen Innes,
chief global market strategist at Axi wrote in a note.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average breached the 30,000
level overnight for the first time on optimism surrounding
vaccine progress and Biden's transition.
"A quick look around the markets today and there isn't
really much to speak of that concerns. It's like a risk-positive
nirvana has descended over the capital markets and traders have
very little to trouble themselves with other than going with the
flow", said Pepperstone's Chris Weston.
Meanwhile, Australia's most populous state of New South
Wales is set to ease social distancing restrictions and allow
restaurants and pubs to increase capacity from December, after
recording nearly three weeks without any local COVID-19
Advancing as much as 4%, energy firms were the
biggest percentage gainers on the benchmark as crude prices rose
for a fourth straight session.
Financials added more than 2% with the "Big Four"
banks ending in the black. Analysts at UBS expect banks to
increase payout ratios and potentially return excess capital
from fiscal 2021.
Miners also advanced as benchmark iron ore futures
snapped a two-session losing streak with Lynas Corp and
BHP Group topping the sub-index with more than a 3%
In New Zealand, benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index gained
for a third straight session to finish 0.9% higher.
The central bank said on Wednesday it would re-impose
mortgage curbs next year amid rising fears of a housing bubble.
The country's largest construction firm jumped to its
highest since November 2018 on upbeat profit outlook and
dividend resumption plans.
(Reporting by Deepali Saxena, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)