Australia shares rise as strengthened recovery hopes enliven markets
Tuesday, March 02, 2021       08:52 WIB

March 2 (Reuters) - Australian shares continued their climb on Tuesday, with technology stocks leading gains, as a rollout of another vaccine in the United States and optimism over a coronavirus relief package boosted hopes of a quicker global economic recovery.
Wall Street rallied overnight as bond markets calmed after a month-long selloff, while the rollout of Johnson & Johnson's newly authorised coronavirus vaccine and hopes of the U.S. fiscal stimulus being passed by mid-March lifted investor sentiment.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose as much as 1.05% to 6,860.70, its highest since Feb. 19. The benchmark finished 1.7% higher on Monday after upbeat economic data strengthened recovery hopes.
The Reserve Bank of Australia on Monday also increased the size of its daily quantitative easing programme which also aided sentiment.
The country's central bank will be holding its monthly policy meet later in the day where key interest rates are expected to be kept unchanged at a historic low of 0.1%.
Technology stocks tracked their U.S. counterparts to gain almost 3%.
Buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay Ltd advanced up to 6.6% after Brokerage Citi Research lifted its price target on the stock to A$124.8 from A$115.0, citing an improved outlook for the firm's full-year 2021 earnings.
The mining sub-index climbed about 1.5%, with BHP Group and Rio Tinto each hitting record highs.
Australia's "Big Four" banks gained between 0.4% to 1.8%, helping the heavyweight financial sector hit its highest level in slightly over a year.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index gained over 1% to 12,467.73, its highest since Feb. 22.
Sanford Ltd and Genesis Energy were top gainers, each rising close to 4%.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand ( RBNZ ) on Tuesday said it is in no hurry to remove economic stimulus and tighten monetary policy, after the central bank held rates last week.

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