* Australian consumer prices rise 1.6% in September quarter
* Gold stocks gain amid stable yellow-metal prices
* Afterpay surges on strong Q1 underlying sales (Updates to close)
Oct 28 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended four straight sessions of losses to close slightly higher on Wednesday as gold miners gained and technology stocks rose following Afterpay’s strong earnings.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.1% higher at 6,057.7. The benchmark fell 1.7% on Tuesday.
“The market’s rise is just a small improvement after the previous losses, as the benchmark bounces back after coming close to the support level of 6,000,” said Steven Daghlian, market analyst at CommSec.
“The market likely faces further volatility ahead, pending the U.S. elections and rising COVID-19 cases in Europe and the United States”, Daghlian added.
In Australia, data showed consumer prices rose 1.6% in the September quarter, though that merely retraced the June quarter’s record 1.9% plunge.
“This (subdued inflation) does make the Reserve Bank of Australia comfortable with further cuts and other policy methods,” Daghlian said.
Among sectors, the gold index surged as prices of the yellow metal benefited from uncertainties about U.S. elections and surging global COVID-19 cases.
Gold explorer Ramelius Resources surged more than 7% as it reported a higher-than-expected gold production in the September quarter.
Tech stocks were also higher, with buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay jumping about 7% after its underlying sales in the first-quarter more than doubled.
The consumer sector also climbed, with the country’s No. 2 supermarket chain Coles Group posting a rise in first-quarter sales.
Financial stocks were lower with the “Big Four” banks falling in the range of 0.1% and 1.5%.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed marginally higher at 12,264.5, helped by gains among healthcare and tech stocks. (Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)
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