Australia shares gain 2% on Wall Street rally, upbeat data
By Arpit Nayak
Aug 4 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 2% on Tuesday to notch their best intraday session in two weeks after a tech-led overnight rally on Wall Street and strong manufacturing data from leading economies bolstered risk appetite.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite .IXIC finished at an all-time high overnight as U.S. tech giant Microsoft Corp's MSFT.O pursuit of Chinese-owned TikTok's U.S. operations lifted sentiment. .N
Investors also placed bets on further U.S. stimulus as Congressional Democrats and White House negotiators said they had made progress in discussions over a coronavirus relief bill.
The S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO was up 2% at 6,047 by 0056 GMT, marking its best session since July 21.
Back home, with the Reserve Bank of Australia expected to hold rates steady at a meeting later in the day, all eyes will be on its economic forecasts as the country witnesses a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
Australia's second-largest city Melbourne on Monday announced fresh coronavirus-related restrictions on retail, manufacturing and administrative businesses, igniting fears of more job losses ahead.
Energy stocks .AXEJ gained on stronger oil prices as a string of positive manufacturing data from the United States, Europe and China indicated a factory recovery may be on the cards despite rising COVID-19 cases. O/R
Woodside Petroleum WPL.AX gained 2.3%, while Santos STO.AX rose 4.3%.
Solid gains for the "Big Four" Australian Banks lifted heavyweight financials .AXFJ up as much as 2.8%, their best session since July 21.
Tech stocks .AXIJ took a cue from their U.S. counterparts to climb up to 3.9%, with buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay adding 5.9%.
Miners .AXMM and healthcare stocks .AXHJ also rode a wave of optimism to book solid gains.
Only gold stocks .AXGD traded in the red as the bullion weakened on positive U.S. economic data. GOL/
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index .NZ50 climbed 0.9% to 11,776.41.
Local shares of lenders Westpac Banking Corp WBC.NZ and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group ANZ.NZ rose 2.7% and 2.9%, respectively.
(Reporting by Arpit Nayak in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
((Arpit.Nayak@thomsonreuters.com; +91 80 6182 3472;))
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