Jan 12 (Reuters) – Australian shares rallied on Thursday, driven by broad-based gains across almost all sectors, supported by optimism that upcoming US December inflation data would point to a more resilient economy and a slower pace of interest rate hikes.
The S&P/ASX 200 index jumped 0.6% to 7,240.70 by 2323 GMT. The benchmark finished 0.9% higher on Wednesday.
The US consumer price index for December, crucial for investors placing bets on the Federal Reserve’s next steps, is expected to show annual inflation at 6.5%, down from 7.1% in November. Data is due later in the day.
Investors are expecting a 25 basis points (bps) interest rate increase at the Fed’s February meeting after a 50 bps increase in December.
Back in Australia, miners rose 0.5% as concerns over supply added support to iron ore prices already boosted by brightening demand prospects in top steelmaker China.
Shares of heavyweights Rio Tinto, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals Group added between 0.5% and 1.1%.
Financials gained about 0.6%, with the “Big Four” lenders advancing between 0.3% and 0.7%.
Tech stocks jumped 0.8%, tracking overnight Wall Street gains. ASX-listed shares of Block Inc and shares of accounting software provider Xero Ltd advanced 1.3% and 1.5%, respectively.
Energy stocks jumped 0.5%, as oil prices touched a one-week high on hopes of an improved global economic outlook.
Santos and Woodside Energy rose 0.7% and 0.8%, respectively.
On the other hand, a fall in bullion prices dragged gold stocks 0.6% lower, with sector majors Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources falling 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index jumped 0.2%to 11,662.93.
(Reporting by Echha Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)