XIJ 1.75% 1,725.0 s&p/asx 200 information technology

News: XIJ Australia shares end higher tracking Wall Street gains, vaccine optimism

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    • U.S-based Moderna's experimental COVID-19 vaccine show positive results
    • Afterpay rebounds after three sessions of losses
    • NZ higher

    (Updates to close)

    Australian shares closed higher on Wednesday, mirroring overnight gains on Wall Street, with material stocks providing a major lift to the domestic benchmark, while promising developments in a potential COVID-19 vaccine added to the cheer.

    The S&P/ASX 200 index (xjo) rose 1.88% to 6,052.9 points, in its best day since June 30, despite tightened restrictions on movement to contain a fresh outbreak of COVID-19 that has pushed the national case tally over 10,000.

    The benchmark closed 0.6% lower on Tuesday. The Australian market took cue from strong overnight gains on the major Wall Street indices, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI ended more than 2% higher and the S&P 500 .SPX gained over a percent.

    U.S. stocks rallied after Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard hinted at an additional monetary stimulus, analysts at OCBC Bank said in a note.

    Meanwhile, U.S. researchers on Tuesday reported that Moderna Inc's MRNA.O experimental vaccine for COVID-19 provoked immune responses in all 45 healthy volunteers in an ongoing early-stage study.

    "The sooner a vaccine or treatment is available, the easier it is for the economic recovery to take place," said CommSec market analyst James Tao.

    ASX 300 metals and mining index .AXMM rose 2.7% led by Champion Iron Ltd (CIA) , up 10.29%, followed by Aurelia Metals Ltd (AMI) , gaining 7.55​%

    Basic material stocks chased overnight gains in their U.S. counterparts, which were also a major boost to the U.S. indices in the last session.

    Technology stocks .AXIJ rose 2.77% led by WiseTech Global Ltd (WTC) , up 4.58%, followed by EML Payments Ltd (EML) , gaining 4.5%.

    Buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay Ltd (APT) jumped 5% before closing 2% higher, recouping after three sessions of losses for the first time in a month.

    In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index (nz50) rose 1% to 11,610.52.

    Top gainers on the (nz50) are Vista Group International Ltd (VGL) , up 4.17%, followed by Oceania Healthcare Ltd (OCA) , gaining 3.09%.

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