2024.02.23 01:01
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Australian shares track global peers higher on tech rally

Australian shares rose on Friday, tracking a global rally in technology stocks and financials, offsetting losses in commodities. The S&P/ASX 200 index increased by 0.5%, with technology stocks jumping as much as 2.7%. Financials advanced nearly 1%, while miners and gold stocks faced losses. Energy stocks fell 0.3%. Brambles reported an 18% jump in profit, and New Zealand's benchmark index was up 0.1%. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is expected to hold its cash rate at 5.50%.

Feb 23 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Friday, tracking a broader rally in global peers, while strong performances in domestic technology stocks and financials helped offset losses in commodities.

The S&P/ASX 200 index (.AXJO) rose 0.5% to 7,650.30 by 2355 GMT. The benchmark ended flat on Thursday.

AI chipmaker Nvidia’s (NVDA.O) stunning results sparked a worldwide wave of record highs in equity markets in the previous session. (MKTS/GLOB)

Australian technology stocks (.AXIJ) tracked Wall Street peers higher to jump as much as 2.7%, touching their highest level since Jan. 6, 2022. The sub-index was also on track to record a fourth weekly gain, if trend holds.

ASX-listed shares of Block Inc (SQ2.AX) surged as much as 17.1% to hit their highest level since Aug. 2 after the Jack Dorsey-led payments firm forecast adjusted core earnings for the current quarter above Wall Street estimates.

Financials (.AXFJ) advanced nearly 1% and were on track to record a seventh straight weekly gain, with the “Big Four” banks adding between 0.6% and 0.9%.

On the other hand, heavyweight miners (.AXMM) were down 0.1%, set for a third consecutive weekly loss. Still, BHP Group (BHP.AX) , Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) and Fortescue (FMG.AX) gained between 0.2% and 0.7%.

Gold stocks (.AXGD) tracked bullion prices lower to slide as much as nearly 3.2%, hitting their lowest level since Oct. 6, 2023.

Energy stocks (.AXEJ) fell 0.3% and were poised to end a third week in the red. Woodside Energy (WDS.AX) lost 0.7%, while Santos (STO.AX) gained 0.5%.

Among individual stocks, Brambles (BXB.AX) jumped as much as 4.7% to hit a record high after the supply chain logistics firm reported an 18% jump in its half-year profit.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index (.NZ50) was up 0.1% at 11,703.74.

A Reuters poll showed the Reserve Bank of New Zealand will hold its cash rate at a 15-year high of 5.50% on Feb. 28 and wait until July at the earliest before beginning to reduce the base cost of borrowing.