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Australia shares end higher on gold, energy boost

* Gold miners gain more than 4%

* Lender CBA closes at record high

* Energy stocks jump despite drop in global oil prices (Updates to close)

May 17 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended higher on Monday, aided by gains in heavyweight gold stocks on the strength of strong bullion prices, while Viva Energy and Ampol boosted the energy index after the government decided to massively fund their refineries.

The S&P/ASX 200 index settled 0.1% higher at 7,023.6.

Gold stocks emerged as the winners of the session with a 4.3% climb, with bullion prices scaling their highest level in more than three months as worries over surging COVID-19 cases in some Asian countries boosted its demand.

Sector-heavyweight Newcrest Mining gained 2.9% to A$28.4, its highest level in nearly a month

Australian energy stocks jumped 1% to deliver their third session of gains, despite a dip in global oil prices.

Shares of Ampol Ltd and Viva Energy surged and led gains on the sub-index, after the government decided to pay its last two oil refineries up to $1.8 billion to stay open.

Financial stocks fell 0.4%, but Commonwealth Bank of Australia hit a record high after rising nearly 2% above A$98.

Australia’s tech stocks ended 1.2% higher. Xero led gains in the index, rising 6%, followed by Codan that gained 2.2%.

Miners were up 0.9% with a 1.4% gain in Fortescue Metals.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index snapped an eight-day losing streak to end 0.3% higher at 12,410.47 (Reporting by Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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