(Reuters) – Australian shares gained on Wednesday as miners rallied for a third straight session and tech stocks tracked their Wall Street peers higher, with investors hoping that the U.S. Federal Reserve will stick to its supportive policy stance.
The S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO rose 0.7% to 5,933.3 by 0030 GMT. It climbed as much as 0.9% earlier in the session.
The tech index .AXIJ added as much as 2.5% to be the top percentage gainer after its U.S. counterpart ended more than 1% higher overnight, while export-reliant miners .AXMM were the biggest boost to the benchmark index.
Eyes are on the outcome from the Fed’s two-day policy meeting later in the day, the first since Chair Jerome Powell announced a more accommodative stance on inflation. [.N]
Meanwhile, Australia’s second-most populous state Victoria reported 42 new COVID-19 cases and eight deaths in the last 24 hours, a day after it recorded zero deaths for the first time in more than two months.
Among other shares and sectors, buy now, pay later firm Afterpay APT.AX and software company Xero XRO.AX were up about 2%.
Miners jumped after upbeat Chinese data on Tuesday, with global giants BHP Group BHP.AX and Rio Tinto RIO.AX gaining 1.6% and 2%, respectively.
QBE Insurance Group QBE.AX said a London court largely ruled in its favour in a case examining the reading of policy wordings by eight insurers regarding business interruptions caused by the pandemic. Its shares shed 0.5%.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index .NZ50 rose 0.5% to 11,825.41, with blue-chip firms being among the top gainers.
Electricity generator Meridian Energy MEL.NZ advanced about 1% after it reported a 7.5% rise in its local retail sales volume in August.
A Reuters poll showed New Zealand is likely to record its sharpest quarterly contraction in the June quarter, officially entering recession.
Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V