July 29, 2019 / 6:47 AM / 4 months ago

Australian shares end near record high on tech gains; NZ up

* Australian shares at highest since Nov. 1, 2007

* Tech stocks top gainers on the index

* Infant formula makers cheer Bubs Australia results (Updates to close)

July 29 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed near their best levels on Monday, with tech stocks being the top performers after U.S. peers led a rally on Wall Street.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.5% or 32.4 points to 6,825.80 at the close of trade, 3 points short of its highest ever close. The benchmark slipped 0.4% on Friday.

Gains were underpinned by tech stocks, which climbed to their highest ever level following robust results of U.S. peers on Friday.

U.S. focused buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay Touch Group Ltd firmed 4% to an over one-month peak, while Nearmap Ltd hit its highest since July 12.

Broader risk-sentiment was supported by bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve would flag the beginning of a policy easing cycle later this week.

Index heavyweight financials jumped 0.6%, with top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia climbing 0.8% to near two-year highs.

Lower U.S. interest rates would ease funding costs for Australian lenders, helping their margins which have come under pressure due to Reserve Bank of Australia’s policy easing this year.

Infant formula makers also gained, bolstered by strong results from Bubs Australia Ltd, which reported its highest ever quarterly revenue.

Bubs surged 5.6%, while Australian shares of a2 Milk Company Ltd climbed 3.3% to a record close.

Investors will also closely watch the first round of Sino-U.S. trade talks in Shanghai since the world’s two biggest economies agreed to a truce at the G20 meeting last month.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.4% or 43.75 points to finish the session at 10,851.36, not far from an all-time closing high hit last week.

Shares of a2 Milk Company Ltd jumped 2.7% to their highest ever close. (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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