Gold and bank stocks drive Australian stocks higher as Omicron worries ease

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  • Bega Cheese top drag on ASX200
  • Healthcare stocks post fourth straight session of gains
  • Tech stocks stop three-day winning streak

December 23 (Reuters) – Gold and financial stocks helped Australian stocks close higher on Thursday, as investor sentiment improved after two research studies found Omicron to be less lethal than the variant of the Delta coronavirus.

The S & P / ASX 200 Index (.AXJO) rose 0.3% to 7,387.6 points, closing in the green for a third day in a row. The benchmark index gained 0.1% on Wednesday.

While Australia has reported more than 8,200 new cases, two separate studies in South Africa and London suggested that the risk of hospitalization with the Omicron variant was less severe than that of the Delta variant. Read more

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The heavy-duty financial index (.AXFJ) rose 0.6%, with the country’s “Big Four” hovering between 0.3% and 0.6%.

Gold miners (.AXGD) rose 1.3% as the yellow metal was set to post a second consecutive weekly gain. Dacian Gold Ltd (DCN.AX) and Tietto Minerals Ltd (TIE.AX) jumped 8.6% and 7.2% respectively.[GOl/]

Miners (.AXMM), which make up a third of the benchmark, finished up 0.3% as metal prices strengthened on supply issues.

However, iron ore majors Rio Tinto Ltd (RIO.AX) and BHP Group (BHP.AX) lost 0.1% and 0.3%, respectively.

Healthcare stocks (.AXHJ), up 0.5%, advanced for a fourth consecutive session, with diagnostics firm Sonic Healthcare (SHL.AX) among the top winners.

Henry Jennings, senior analyst at Marcustoday Financial Newsletter, said increased demand for COVID-19 testing would be good for pathology labs as people travel across states during festival season.

The tech sector (.AXIJ) was the only drag in the market as it finished down 0.9%, breaking a three-day winning streak, with WiseTech Global (WTC.AX) falling the most .

Dairy company Bega Cheese (BGA.AX) fell 10.3% and was the main drop in the benchmark after warning that profits were hit by stiff domestic competition. Read more

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S & P / NZX 50 (.NZ50) remained stable at 12,862.71 points.

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Report by Dhriti Garg in Bangalore; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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