(Updates to close)
By Shreya Mariam Job
June 17 (Reuters) - Australian shares advanced on Wednesday as hopes for a swift global economic recovery rose after a record jump in U.S. retail sales, although fears of a second wave of coroanvirus cases capped gains.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.83% to 5,991.8 points at the close of trade. The benchmark rose 3.9% on Tuesday.
U.S. retail sales rebounded sharply in May after two months of declines, spurring hopes that the virus-induced recession may be drawing to an end.
The optimism, however, was crimped by a resurgence in coronavirus cases as Beijing cut flights and closed schools in a bid to contain another outbreak, while new infections hit record highs in six U.S. states.
Australia also said it will continue restrictions on its international borders for “some time to come”.
“Even as the COVID-19 cases continue to be noted across the world, the sentiment is suggesting that expectations remain for continued recovery particularly judging the fact that governments may be unwilling to see to an expansive lockdown once again,” Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG, said.
Leading the gains in Australia, tech stocks jumped to their highest level since February 19 after Wall Street peers rallied overnight.
Shares of WiseTech Global Ltd rose 5.88%, while Computershare Ltd gained 4.34%.
However, material stocks slipped 0.9%, with global miners BHP Group and Rio Tinto Ltd losing 0.7% each.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 3.5% to finish the session at 11,334.31.
The country on Wednesday formally launched talks on free trade agreements with Britain, which is looking to line up post-Brexit trade deals with other countries.
Top percentage gainers on the benchmark were A2 Milk Company Ltd, up 7.23%, followed by Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Ltd, gaining 6.24%.
Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni