Tech, travel stocks lift Australia shares to 1-1/2-month closing high

Tech, travel stocks lift Australia shares to 1-1/2-month closing high

Australia shares ended higher on Tuesday, bolstered by travel stocks after the announcement of a travel bubble between the country and New Zealand, while tech heavyweights jumped to their highest in a month tracking Wall Street’s strong finish.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.8 per cent firmer at 6,885.90 points, its highest close since Feb. 18. The index shaved a few points off its midday peak of 6,915.700 points by the close of trading.

Australia’s central bank left interest rates at an all-time low, as expected, and signalled that the cash rate would remain at 0.1 per cent until at least 2024.

“We’re not really seeing too much from the RBA that’s giving us anything new,” Nick Twidale, chief executive officer of APAC at FP Markets said.

“It’s sort of deflating for the market as Australia’s coming out of the pandemic quite well, but if you’ve got the central bank then saying they’re not finding a reason to make any moves for another three years – it’s a bit of a knock.”

Cleanaway Waste Management rose nearly 16 per cent and was the top gainer in the benchmark index, after the company said it would buy the local recycling and recovery business of French firm Suez for A$2.52 billion ($1.93 billion).

Travel stocks jumped, after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said quarantine-free visits by Australians to New Zealand would be allowed from April 19. Qantas Airways added 3 per cent.

Tech stocks rose more than 5 per cent to finish at their highest level since Feb. 25, with Afterpay leading gains on a 10 per cent rise.

Gold stocks climbed 3.1 per cent as bullion prices rose, with heavyweight Newcrest Mining adding 2 per cent.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.7 per cent lower at 12,400.48. However, Air New Zealand jumped 5.8 per cent after the company said it would ramp up flights between New Zealand and Australia.

($1 = 1.3075 Australian dollars)

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