June 30, 2020 / 1:26 AM / 14 days ago

Australian shares track Wall Street higher on stimulus hopes

June 30 (Reuters) - Australian shares rebounded on Tuesday, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street amid hopes of further stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve to counter the coronavirus-led economic downturn, even as new cases pile up worldwide.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.78% in early trade. Overnight the three major U.S. indexes rose between 1.2% and 2.3%.

Investors were optimistic about further help from the Fed, after the global death toll from COVID-19 surpassed half a million people, with Australia recording its biggest daily spike in cases in more than two months.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Monday welcomed the return of economic activity as shutdowns were eased, but said the outlook for the United States is still “extraordinarily uncertain”.

Financial stocks rose 1.89%, with all of the “big four” banks rising in the range of 1.4% to 2.7%.

The energy subindex was 2.79% higher, led by Worley Ltd, as oil prices climbed overnight on improving economic data from Asia and Europe.

Industrial stocks advanced 2.7%, with toll-road operator Transurban Group jumping about 3%.

The top percentage gainer on the benchmark index was Collins Foods Ltd, up 14.47% as it reported strong full-year revenue and underlying net profit after tax numbers.

Infigen Energy recommended an offer from Iberdrola to its shareholders, after the Spanish company waived most conditions from its $589 mln bid. Infigen’s shares were up 0.6%.

The number of issues on the ASX that advanced were 823, while 176 declined.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 1.55%.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand on Tuesday reaffirmed its guidance on keeping interest rates unchanged until March next year. (Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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