Dec 1 (Reuters) - Australian shares rallied on Thursday,
tracking overnight Wall Street gains after the U.S. Federal
Reserve chairman said the central bank could slow its pace of
interest rate hikes as soon as December.
The S&P/ASX 200 index jumped 1.2% to 7,373.80 by
2358 GMT after closing 0.4% higher on Wednesday.
Wall Street ended sharply higher on Wednesday as Fed Chair
Jerome Powell's comments were a relief for investors who had
feared more hawkishness.
In Australia, miners jumped 2.5%, even as Dalian
iron ore future closed lower overnight on data showing a
contraction in China factory activity.
Index heavyweights Rio Tinto, BHP Group
and Fortescue Metals Group gained between 2.2% and
Gold stocks soared 4.4%, making them the top
percentage gainers on the bourse, as gold prices rose over
Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources
were up 4.3% and 5.3%, respectively.
Financials gained about 1%, with the "big four"
banks up between 0.7% and 1%.
Health and tech stocks advanced 0.3% and
Energy was the only sector trading in negative
territory, even as oil prices settled higher overnight on signs
of tighter supply.
Woodside Energy dipped 1.2%, while Santos
In other news, Medibank Private Ltd, Australia's
biggest health insurer, said it was aware that customer data
stolen in a cybersecurity breach was released on the dark web
overnight. Its shares were up 1.7%.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.6%
(Reporting by Echha Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu