Nov 18 (Reuters) – Australian shares rose marginally on Friday, with banks leading the gains, even as hawkish comments from US Federal Reserve officials and a persisting tight labour market raised fears of a prolonged monetary policy tightening.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.2% at 7,147.50 by 2358 GMT. The benchmark ended 0.2% higher on Thursday. It was, however, set to end the week 0.2% lower, snapping a three-week gaining streak.
Hawkish comments from Fed officials to continue raising rates by at least another full percentage point as data indicates tightness in the labour market cast a shadow on hopes of a pivot in Fed’s aggressive stance.
Data also showed Australia’s net employment rose better-than-expected in October, raising speculation that the Reserve Bank of Australia might continue with rate hikes.
Miners were down 0.5%, even as iron ore prices inched higher on hopes that China will roll out more measures to support its economy.
Copper-gold miner OZ Minerals jumped 3.8% on receiving a hiked buyout offer of AUSD 9.60 billion (USD 6.43 billion) from global miner BHP Group.
Also, Rio Tinto edged down after it said it will proceed with acquiring the remaining 49% in Turquoise Hill Resources for USD 3.3 billion.
Financials jumped 0.4% with the “Big Four” banks gaining between 0.1% and 1%.
Shares of Perpetual Ltd. fell 20.7% this week, as an Australian court on Thursday said fund manager Pendal Group could enforce Perpetual to honor its AUSD 2.34 billion takeover deal.
Local energy stocks gained 0.1% despite oil prices falling amid demand concerns over rising COVID-19 cases in China. O/R
Santos gained 0.3%, while Woodside Energy fell 0.2%.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index .NZ50 rose 0.2% to 11,319.58.
Fonterra Co-operative Group jumped 0.8% after it said it was selling its dairy operations in Chile to Peru’s Gloria Foods for USD 641.4 million.
(USD 1 = 1.4939 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Echha Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
This article originally appeared on reuters.com