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Company News

Australia, NZ shares track Wall Street higher; NZ marks record close

* NZ rises for 7th session, Australia up for 4th day

* Tech stocks, miners top boosts for Aussie benchmark

* Australia’s “big four” banks close higher for 4th day (Updates to close)

Oct 8 (Reuters) - New Zealand stocks posted a record closing high on Thursday and Australian shares extended gains into a fourth session, tracking Wall Street as U.S. President Donald Trump called for some COVID-19 relief measures after calling off stimulus talks.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 1.8% higher at 12,235.92, rising for the seventh straight session. Vista Group and Sky City were the top percentage gainers, up 9.7% and 4.7%, respectively.

Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 1.1% at 6,102.2.

Overnight, all major Wall Street indexes closed sharply higher as Trump urged Congress to pass a series of smaller, standalone coronavirus relief measures after abruptly calling off negotiations on a comprehensive bill until after the presidential election.

“This is a really a strong lead from the U.S., it’s not essentially anything that’s happening in our market,” said Brad Smoling, managing director at Smoling Stockbroking.

Adding to the cheer, Melbourne, the capital of Australia’s coronavirus hotspot state of Victoria, on Wednesday reported the lowest two-week average of new cases.

Shares of buy-now-pay-later firm Zip Co touched their highest level in more than a month and were the top percentage gainers on the Australian benchmark.

Among sectors, technology gained the most with a rise of 2.7%. Accounting software maker Xero was the top boost to the sub-index.

The metals and mining sub-index jumped 1.4%, with sector leaders BHP Group and Rio Tinto adding 2.1% and 1.8%, respectively.

Financial stocks rose for a fourth day, with all “big four” banks closing in positive territory for a fourth session as well.

“Those feeling a bit brave are starting to buy banks at lower levels on anticipation that they will improve and produce dividends in the days ahead,” Smoling said. (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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