Australia shares rebound as contagion fears ebb; easing U.S. inflation boosts sentiment

Credit: REUTERS/DAVID GRAY

March 15 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended a three-day losing streak on Wednesday, with mining and financial stocks leading gains, as fears of a global banking crisis eased, while cooling U.S. inflation raised hopes of smaller rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

The S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO rose 0.7% to 7,057.60 by 2322 GMT. The benchmark fell 1.4% on Tuesday.

Data showed that U.S. consumer prices rose at an expected monthly pace in February, raising bets of a smaller 25 basis-point hike in key interest rate by the Fed at its policy meeting next week. .N

Banking stocks around the world rebounded after losing hundreds of billions of dollars in value this week after the collapse of major U.S.-based lender SVB Financial Group SIVB.O. MKTS/GLOB

Financial stocks .AXFJ in Sydney, too, jumped 1.2%, in their best day in more than a week. The so-called 'Big Four' banks advanced between 1.5% and 2%.

Technology stocks .AXIJ rose 2.4%, tracking gains in their Wall Street peers, with Block Inc's ASX-listed shares SQ2.AX gaining 4.1% and Xero XRO.AX rising 2.3%.

The mining sub-index .AXMM advanced 0.9%. Sector majors Rio Tinto RIO.AX and BHP Group BHP.AX rose 1.2% and 0.9%, respectively.

Gold stocks .AXGD slumped more than 2% after a three-session rally. Gold prices fell on Tuesday after surging over 2% in the previous two sessions. GOL/

Bellevue Gold BGL.AX plunged 9.7% and Northern Star Resources NST.AX dived 2.3%.

Energy stocks .AXEJ slid 0.7%, driven by a 4% plunge in the oil market on inflation worries. Sector heavyweights Woodside Energy WDS.AX and Santos STO.AX shed 1.4% and 0.9%, respectively. O/R

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index .NZ50 broke a five-session losing streak and rose 0.3% to reach 11,627.92.

Official data showed that the country reported a current account deficit in the fourth quarter.

(Reporting by Poonam Behura; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

((Poonam.Behura@thomsonreuters.com))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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