for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up

Financials lift Aussie stocks to all-time high for third day on GDP data boost

* Financial stock close at highest since Nov. 2017

* Miners snap six-day winning streak

* Energy stocks 8.5% weekly jump (Updates to close)

June 4 (Reuters) - Australian shares hit a record high on Friday for a third straight session, as banking stocks extended a rally following the country’s better-than-expected economic growth data released earlier this week.

The S&P/ASX 200 ended 0.5% higher at 7,295.4 after hitting a record 7,300 mark earlier. The benchmark posted a 1.6% weekly gain.

Financials extended gains and hit their highest since Nov. 10, 2017, as forecast-beating first-quarter gross domestic product data and accomodative monetary policy from the country’s central bank supported sentiment.

“When things are looking good, money is pouring into those Australian financial stocks... Because we are not seeing any massive changes from central banks, its almost like giving a green light for stocks to move to the top-side,” said Nick Twidale, chief executive officer - APAC at FP Markets.

All of the “Big Four” banks ended higher, gaining between 1.3% and 1.5%.

Robust data has also helped offset investor concerns after a fresh spike in COVID-19 infections in Australia’s second-most populous state Victoria, where authorities have detected the highly infectious Delta COVID-19 virus variant.

Export-focused healthcare companies, which benefit from a stronger U.S. dollar, added 1.4%, as the greenback was perched at multi-weeks highs.

Sector heavyweight CSL rose 1.5%, while Pro Medicus ended at a record high.

Sentiment was also boosted by better-than-expected U.S. weekly employment data.

Energy stocks closed 8.5% higher for the week and marked their fourth consecutive session of gains, as crude prices remained largely elevated.

Miners snapped a six-day rally to close 1.9% lower, weighed down by falling copper prices.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 closed 0.5% higher at 12,496.27.

Dairy producers a2 Milk Company and Synlait Milk notched their best week in months after China, their top market, eased policy allowing married Chinese couples to have up to three children from existing two. (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up