Miners lead gains on firm iron ore prices; gold stocks up on rising bullion prices; benchmark gains for fourth straight day. Australian shares closed at a more-than-two-week high on Monday on hopes of a less aggressive US Federal Reserve and as commodity prices got a boost from China’s policy to support its domestic property sector. The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.6% higher at 7,151.30 points, its highest since Dec. 22, 2022, as heavyweight miners and energy stocks helped the benchmark log its fourth straight session of gains. Beijing opened borders that had been shut since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, allowing a surge in traffic across the nation and in optimism for the demand outlook for commodities in Australia’s top trading partner. Henry Jennings, senior analyst at Marcustoday Financial Newsletter, said the concerns over rising COVID cases in China do not outweigh the positives of the world’s second-largest economy reopening its borders. “The rise in Covid cases (in China) is a concern, but as yet we don’t seem to have seen too many negatives in terms of the economic side,” Jennings said. Last week’s US jobs data showed a slowdown in wage growth, easing investor worries about the outlook on inflation and the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy stance.

Australian shares

“We May See the Reserve Bank of Australia Pause Rate Hikes.

in February given that the Fed’s rate hikes are approaching a slowdown,” Jennings added. Export-reliant miners led gains with a 1% increase. Behemoths BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group rose between 1.9% and 1.6%. Strong bullion prices helped gold stocks jump 2.5%, with sector-major Newcrest Mining closing the session 3% higher. Local energy stocks added 1.4% to the bourse as oil prices nudged higher on travellers streaming into China. Sector heavyweights Woodside energy rose 1.5%. Financials were also among the top boosts to the market, with the “Big Four” banks gaining between 1% and 1.5%. New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2% to finish the session at 11,646.450 points.