* Australia reports most daily virus casualties
* Financial stocks lead on Aussie benchmark
Aug 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares firmed on Monday,
lifted by hopes that U.S. lawmakers could soon reach a deal for
fresh fiscal stimulus, even as a resurgence in COVID-19
infections at home led to a record number of daily deaths.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.7% to 6,045.9 points by
0056 GMT, rebounding from a 0.6% drop on Friday.
Investor sentiment was supported by expectations of further
COVID-19 aid in the United States after the U.S. House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on
Sunday they were open to restarting talks after weeks of failed
Financial stocks rose 1.3% and hit their highest
level since July 31.
Gains on the sub-index were led by Magellan Financial Group
, up 2.78%, followed by Credit Corp Group,
The Big Four lenders added between 1.8% and 2.2%, with two
of them slated to report earnings this week.
Meanwhile, Australia continued to see a rising death toll
from the pandemic, although the number of new infections in the
country's virus hot spot - state of Victoria - fell to a near
The gold sub-index dropped 0.5% after bullion prices
slumped on Friday and snapped their recent record-breaking
The country's biggest gold miner, Newcrest Mining,
gave up 1.2% after confirming a COVID-19 case at its Lihir
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index
advanced 0.5%, as the Pacific island nation crossed more than
100 days without a domestic transmission of the virus.
The top percentage gainers on the index were Westpac
Banking up 2.5%, Australia and New Zealand Banking
Group up 2.3% and Pushpay Holdings up 2%.
(Reporting by Deepali Saxena; Editing by Aditya Soni)