Australian shares gain on strength in gold stocks, cenbank comments
Friday, August 14, 2020       09:09 WIB

Aug 14 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Friday, buoyed by gains in gold stocks and the central bank's reassurance on policy measures to ease the economic pain of the coronavirus crisis.
Responding to questions before a parliamentary economics committee, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe said the central bank has not ruled out a separate bond buying programme or other adjustments to its suite of policy measures.
The S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 0.5% to 6123.1 by 0038 GMT, rebounding from a 0.67% drop in the previous session. The benchmark is also set for its best weekly jump since the week ended July 17.
Gold stocks gained 1.1% as bullion prices jumped overnight on reports of a slow recovery in the U.S. labour market.
Newcrest Mining, the country's biggest gold miner, lost 0.6% after it reported a smaller-than-expected annual profit.
IT stocks jumped 2.6%, led by index heavvyweights Xero Ltd and Afterpay rising 3.7% and 3.6%, respectively.
Sentiment also improved as RBA's Lowe said policymakers had no concerns at all about the stability of the country's banking system.
Shares of National Australia Bank, the country's third-biggest lender, jumped nearly 2%, even as it reported a 6.1% drop in quarterly cash profit.
Energy stocks were the sole decliners, dropping nearly 0.7% as crude prices eased after the International Energy Agency lowered its 2020 oil demand forecast.
Index heavyweights Oil Search and Santos were among the top percentage laggards on the local benchmark, falling 2.8% and 1.4%, respectively.
As of 0034 GMT, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 0.3% to 11469.97, pulled down by travel and real estate stocks, as the Pacific island nation scrambled to trace the source of its first COVID-19 infections in more than three months.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is due to announce later in the day, whether a lockdown in Auckland will be eased or extended. (Reporting by Deepali Saxena; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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