CCL

Australia shares rise on easing virus worries, Coca-Cola Amatil deal

Credit: REUTERS/STEVEN SAPHORE

Australian shares rose on Monday as COVID-19 hotspot Victoria reported zero new cases for the first time in four months and Coca-Cola Amatil received a $6.6 billion buyout bid.

Victoria state reports zero new cases in 24 hours

Coca-Cola Amatil stock top gainer on benchmark

Westpac drags financial stocks

NZ markets closed for a holiday

Oct 26 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Monday as COVID-19 hotspot Victoria reported zero new cases for the first time in four months and Coca-Cola Amatil received a $6.6 billion buyout bid.

Gains in healthcare and tech stocks helped the S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO firm 0.4% to 6,190.10 by 0049 GMT.

Victoria state has now gone 24 hours without detecting any new COVID-19 cases, a milestone last achieved four months ago, raising hopes that a stringent lockdown of Melbourne will be eased.

The state's Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday had delayed the reopening of the city which went under a lockdown in July, even as businesses argued for the need to reopen the economy.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd CCL.AX surged 16% to see its best day in over a decade and top the benchmark after Coca-Cola European Partners CCEPC.L offered to buy the Australian bottler, in what would be the country's biggest deal this year.

Coca-Cola's jump also pushed consumer stocks .AXSJ 2% higher. The index marked its best session in nearly three weeks.

Aiding sentiment were signs of U.S. stimulus talks gathering momentum after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterated the need for a round of aid as soon as possible and said the President Donald Trump's administration was reviewing the latest plans.

Among other individual shares and sectors, the tech index .AXIJ rose 2.1%. Software maker WiseTech Global Ltd WTC.AX, jumped 3.3% and Bravura Solutions Ltd BVS.AX added 2.8%.

Healthcare stocks .AXHJ gained 1.1%, benefiting from firmness in the greenback as the United States is a top export destination for the companies. FRX/

Biotech major CSL Ltd CSL.AX jumped 1.6%, rising the most on the sub-index.

The heavyweight financial index .AXFJ slipped, with Westpac Banking Corp WBC.AX shares falling 0.9% after it revealed it would book a $870.4 million hit in second-half results.

Markets in New Zealand .NZ50 were closed for a holiday.

(Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

((Anushka.Trivedi@thomsonreuters.com; +918061823241;))

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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