ASX 200 ends 1% higher; Australia shares scale over 3-month high on mining, energy boost

Australian shares settled more than 1 per cent higher on Friday, posting their best week in seven, as mining and energy stocks tracked an uptick in commodity prices, while strong U.S. data boosted hopes of an economic recovery and lifted sentiment globally.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed 1.2 per cent higher at 7,179.50, hitting its highest level since Feb. 20, and posting a weekly gain of 2.1 per cent.

Metals and mining stocks jumped 2 per cent, adding 1.6 per cent for the week, as iron ore futures rose after China said it planned to curb steel output to meet its peak carbon emission target.

Rio Tinto and BHP Group rose 2.6 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively. Fortescue Metals, on the other hand, slipped 0.7 per cent after it raised the cost estimate for its Iron Bridge magnetite project for the second time this year.

Energy stocks gained 1.7 per cent as oil prices climbed on promising U.S. economic data and expectations of a strong rebound in global fuel demand in the third quarter.

Index heavyweights Santos and Oil Search advanced 2.3 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively.

Financial stocks rose more than 1 per cent with the “Big Four” Australian banks gaining between 1.1 per cent and 1.4 per cent.

The broader market was also aided by an uptick in U.S. shares overnight after data showed an improvement in the labour market.

A separate report by the Commerce Department confirmed that gross domestic product rose at a 6.4 per cent annualised rate last quarter, compared with a 4.3 per cent growth in the fourth.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5 per cent to 12,182.25, with real estate and utilities stocks being the biggest drags on the index.

The biggest loser on the index was Mercury NZ, which fell 5.8 per cent in its worst day since July 9, while Pushpay Holdings slipped 2.9 per cent to NZ$1.690.

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