* Tech stocks lead gains in benchmark index
* CSL boosts healthcare sector
* Markets await cues from U.S. Fed meet (Updates to close)
March 16 (Reuters) - Australian shares finished nearly 1% higher on Tuesday to notch their best session in more than a week, as the benchmark tracked overnight gains on Wall Street, while lower U.S. bond yields prompted heavy buying in healthcare and technology stocks.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.8% higher at 6,827.10, after rising as much as 1.3% earlier in the day - its biggest intraday percentage gain since March 8. The benchmark closed 0.1% higher on Monday.
Major Wall Street indexes closed at record highs in the previous session, as investors eyed an economic recovery from the coronavirus and awaited cues from the Federal Reserve this week amid caution over rising borrowing costs.
Back home, investors took heart from minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s policy meeting, which reiterated that interest rates would remain lower for longer until the economy gets back on its feet and unemployment rates lower.
Meanwhile, the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasuries fell below its 13-month peak of 1.64% on Friday. Global markets have been roiled in recent weeks by a spike in longer-dated U.S. bond yields due to fears of an increase in inflation.
“Yields are starting to come off and growth stocks are starting to have a bounce and if you look at that, the top performers are all about the yield - the classic healthcare stocks and technology stocks,” Mathan Somasundaram, the chief executive officer at Deep Data Analytics said.
Technology stocks were top gainers, closing about 3% higher with Afterpay adding 3% and Altium finishing over 2% stronger.
The healthcare sub-index rose 2.4%, boosted by industry behemoth CSL’s 2.3% climb and Cochlear’s near 2% gain.
The heavyweight financial sector closed about 0.7% higher, with the “Big Four” banks climbing between 0.4% and 0.9% higher.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index gained 0.8% to finish the session at 12,689.05.
Top gainers were Mercury NZ and Serko Ltd, each adding over 5%. (Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)