By Vasudha Kaukuntla
April 22 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed higher on Thursday, joining a rebound in global equities as gold and healthcare stocks advanced, while AGL Energy hit a record low after its chief executive officer resigned.
The S&P/ASX 200 .AXJO rose 0.8% to 7,055.40 in its best day since April 8. It had marked its worst session in nearly two months in the previous session.
U.S. stocks bounced on Wednesday after a two-day decline, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq .IXIC adding 1.2%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 0.3% on Thursday, following a 0.9% decline the previous day. .NMKTS/GLOB
"The ASX rebounded across the board, led by a strong reversal in the U.S. equity markets last night," said Brad Smoling, managing director, Smoling Stockbroking.
"Gold prices rallied surprisingly too last night... and Australian gold miners led the charge on ASX today."
Gold stocks .AXGD surged 2.7%, snapping their two-day losing streak, with sector heavyweight Newcrest Mining NCM.AX gaining 2.3%, and Chalice Mining CHN.AX adding 8.1%.
Healthcare stocks .AXHJ, which fell for two straight sessions earlier this week, rose 1.7%. Biotech giant CSL CSL.AX gained 1.8%.
AMP AMP.AX underperformed the bourse and was the biggest loser among financial stocks, after it reported A$1.5 billion ($1.16 billion) in net outflows at its Australian wealth management business for the first quarter.
Energy stocks .AXEJ shed 0.6%. Oil and gas producer Beach Energy BPT.AX gave up nearly 2% and was among the biggest decliners on the sub-index.
AGL Energy AGL.AX fell 2.9% to an all-time low after its chief executive officer resigned in less than a month after the power producer announced plans to split into two.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 .NZ50 rose 0.3% to finish at 12,577.48. Medical device maker Fisher & Paykel Healthcare FPH.NZ was the biggest gainer, up 4.2%.
(Reporting by Vasudha Kaukuntla in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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