July 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares snapped a three-day losing streak on Monday, pushed up by financial and consumer stocks, as optimism spread from Wall Street on better-than-expected U.S. jobs data.
The benchmark Australian index finished up 0.4 percent, or 20.83 points, at 5,724.4.
On Friday, the index shed nearly 1 percent, producing a loss of 0.3 percent for the week.
Wall Street stocks ended higher on Friday after U.S. Labour Department data showed the world’s biggest economy added 222,000 jobs last month, exceeding expectations for 179,000.
While the robust job data puts the Federal Reserve on course to raise interest rates once more this year, subdued wage growth may give the central bank room to pause if needed.
Australian financial stocks, tracking profits in U.S. peers, were the biggest gainers on the benchmark.
Shares of the ‘Big Four’ banks, rose between 0.4 percent and 0.9 percent, contributing to the index’s advance.
Telecom firms were lifted by a near 1 percent rise in Telstra Corp shares, the biggest in the sector by market value.
However, basic materials and energy shares fell. While base metals prices recovered from earlier losses, oil prices remained under pressure, and iron ore gained.
The most-traded iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange gained on Friday after data from Australia showed iron ore shipments to China from Australia’s Port Hedland terminal dropped to 36.6 million tonnes in June from 38 million tonnes the previous month.
Port Hedland is used by three of Australia’s top four iron ore miners, BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals Group and Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting.
BHP lost about 0.3 percent and Fortescue shed almost 2 percent.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index finished 0.5 percent lower at 7,583.95 as industrials and consumer cyclicals stocks slipped.
Auckland International Airport and Fletcher Building Ltd were the biggest losers on the benchmark by weight, down about 2.3 percent each. (Reporting by Rushil Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk)