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Australia shares rise on tech boost, Afterpay soars – Reuters

June 18 (Reuters) – Australian stocks rose on Friday, as a rally among technology firms following an upbeat performance among U.S. peers overnight offset losses in mining shares, with heavyweight Afterpay jumping more than 7%.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.4% to 7,387 points by 0047 GMT, and eyed a fifth weekly gain in succession.

Investors pumped money into tech stocks as sentiment was lifted on Wall Street by hopes of a strong economic recovery, although a post-Fed hangover persisted.

Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei was up 0.3% at 29,118.12 and the S&P 500 E-minis futures were up 0.1%.

The tech index gained 3% and was on track for a 6.8% gain this week.

Buy-now-pay-later major Afterpay rose about 7% to its highest in nearly seven weeks, boosting the index.

Software maker Altium added nearly 3% and was on track for its best session in a week, as it played up its strategies and goals at an investor presentation, amid expectations of higher offers after it recently rejected U.S. peer Autodesk’s buyout bid.

Denting these gains, gold stocks were the worst hit as they lost 3.3% and were headed for their biggest weekly loss since March 13, 2020, down 10.5% for the week.

Mining stocks slid 2% on lower copper prices and were headed for a 5.9% loss for the week, its biggest since Jan. 29.

The heavyweight financials lost 0.7%, after a widespread internet outage that had shut down websites of major Australian banks including the country’s central bank and three of the “Big Four” banks.

New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index reversed losses to rise 0.2% to 12,571.1 points.

The country’s major carrier Air New Zealand lost nearly 1% after it flagged losses in fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2022 as demand is unlikely to recover in the long-term while international borders are closed. (Reporting by Yamini C S in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)