June 16 (Reuters) - Australian shares breached the 7,400
level for the first time ever on Wednesday as heavyweight
financials and energy stocks advanced, while investors awaited
the U.S. Federal Reserve statement for clues on possible
tapering of economic support.
The Fed is widely expected to acknowledge the first
conversations among its policymakers about when and how fast to
pare back the massive bond-buying programme launched in 2020
when it concludes the two-day policy meeting later in the day.
"The RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) has practically hitched
its wagon to the Fed policy over the last year... any Fed
guideline on the tapering of bond purchases may signal the RBA
to taper too," said Kyle Rodda, a market analyst at IG Markets.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.09% higher at 7,386.2
after scaling an all-time high of 7,406.2 earlier in the day.
Energy stocks were the top performers, jumping 1.5%
as oil prices surged on improving demand outlook.
Oil & gas explorers Woodside Petroleum Ltd and Oil
Search Ltd surged 2.3% and 1.5%, respectively.
Financials were also higher. The so called "big
four" banks gained between 0.1% and 1%, with top lender
Commonwealth Bank of Australia scaling a new high of
Meanwhile, mining stocks slipped, weighed down by
weak prices across metals. Global miner BHP Group Ltd
and top gold producer Newcrest Mining Ltd fell 1.7% and
Shares of lithium miner Firefinch jumped over 25%
after the company signed a deal with China's Ganfeng Lithium
to jointly develop the Goulamina project in Mali.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell
0.9% to 12,581.6, dragged down by losses in utility and
(Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru; Editing by