July 30, 2020 / 1:46 AM / 5 days ago

Australia shares rise as Fed signals more support; iron giants boost

* Rio, Fortescue shine as results beat estimates

* Macquarie says Q1 results to be lower, gives no outlook

* Tech stocks mark best day in more than a week

By Arpit Nayak

July 30 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Thursday as the U.S. Federal Reserve reiterated its plans to keep interest rates near-zero for as long as it takes to revive the economy, while strong performance from domestic iron ore miners also boosted stocks.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.7% at 6,045.3 by 0106 GMT.

Fed policymakers renewed their pledge to utilise all means at their disposal to set the virus-hit economy on the path to recovery but warned that the outlook would depend on the course the virus takes.

Australian mining index also drew support from better-than-expected earnings and production numbers from iron ore giants.

Heavyweights Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group beat expectations to post solid results as demand recovers in China for the steel-making material.

Financials also rose 1% with the “Big Four” banks all trading in positive territory.

Lender Macquarie Group rose 2.4% despite saying its first-quarter profit would be lower than last year and left investors in the dark with no earnings forecast for fiscal 2021.

Meanwhile, Commonwealth Bank of Australia said it would allocate $216 million as remediation to customers affected by widespread misconduct in its aligned advice businesses.

As investors’ place optimistic bets on impending results from U.S. tech giants, Australian technology stocks followed suit to add as much as 2.5% and mark their best session in more than a week.

Buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay tacked on 2.7%, while accounting software company Xero gained 1.4%.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index gained 0.6% to 11,663.87.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp and Ryman Healthcare gained 1.1% and 1.5%, respectively.

Reporting by Arpit Nayak in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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