Australia shares close higher on commodities strength

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Australian shares closed up on Friday, marking their first weekly gain in five, buoyed by commodity stocks as positive sentiment from China boosted the prices of iron ore and oil.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 46 points or 0.7% higher at 7,109.6, marking a 1% gain for the week. The index rose 0.1% on Thursday.

China on Thursday announced measures to support its ailing property sector, lifting investor mood, with prices of iron ore and oil moving higher.

Australian markets joined the broad upward trend in Asian equities, despite a poor session on Wall Street overnight as indications of a tight labour market may keep the Federal Reserve on its hawkish path.

Markets also await another key U.S. jobs report due tonight for further cues.

“Overall risk sentiment could lean more towards wait-and-see in the lead-up to the U.S. job report later, lacking a clear conviction in market direction from Wall Street over the past few days,” said Yeap Jun Rong, a market analyst at IG.

However, local mining stocks advanced 3.3%, led by strong gains in iron ore, lithium and gold miners.

BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group rose between 2.4% and 3.7% each.

Lithium miners Core Lithium and Liontown Resources rose 8.6% and 8.3% respectively, becomong top gainers on the benchmark index.

Energy stocks were also 1.6% higher, tracking oil prices, which rose on hopes of higher demand from China.

Woodside Energy and Santos rose 2.1% and 1.7% respectively. Coal miners Yancoal Australia and Coronado Global Resources rose 6.8% and 4.4% respectively, days after speculation emerged that China may resume coal imports from Australia.

Takeover bids for Warrego Energy also intensified, as Strike Energy said its offer was a premium to Hancock Energy’s sweetened bid.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.2% or 25.32 points lower at 11,625.97.