September 6, 2019 / 6:46 AM / 15 days ago

Australian shares climb on trade talk hopes, NZ closes at record high

* Energy, tech stocks lead gains

* Cooper Energy surges on gas find

* NZ benchmark sees best week in over 10 yrs (Updates to close)

By Shriya Ramakrishnan

Sept 6 (Reuters) - Australian shares had a solid rise on Friday, contributing to the market’s third straight weekly gain, fuelled by hopes for reduced tensions after Washington and Beijing agreed to hold high-level trade talks next month.

The S&P/ASX 200 index advanced 0.5% to 6,647.3. The benchmark rose 0.9% on Thursday and recorded a weekly gain of 0.7%.

The latest round of talks would the first in-person, high-level discussion since a failed trade meeting at the end of July prompted U.S. President Donald Trump to proceed with fresh tariffs on virtually all remaining Chinese imports so far untouched by the trade war.

“The U.S. market is now within 2% of all time-highs, and we are basically kind of soldiers to fortunes on that, following suit on the decent mark-up across the board,” Damian Rooney, director of equity sales at Argonaut said.

On Friday, risk sentiment was also supported by strong U.S. economic data that revealed a rebound in the services industry last month.

Australia’s energy stocks jumped 1.3%, and were among the top gainers on the benchmark stock index, helped by rising oil prices.

Cooper Energy surged as much as 17.1% to hit an over 11-year peak, making it the top performer on the energy sub-index. The oil and gas explorer said drilling at an exploration well led to the discovery of a gasfield in the Otway Basin in offshore Victoria.

Tech stocks closed 2.2% higher, tracking their U.S. peers, which drove a rally on Wall Street on Thursday.

Aussie tech firms Appen Ltd and Computershare Ltd advanced 2.6% and 3.2% respectively.

Heavyweight financial stocks posted a second straight session of gains, with the “Big Four” banks ending between 0.4% and 0.9% higher.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed up 1% to 11,218.99, a record high and produced its biggest weekly gain in over 10 years.

Tourism Holdings and Vista Group International strengthened 3.7% and 3.4% each.

Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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