Australia shares rise on tech, banking stocks as focus shifts to U.S inflation

* Tech shares top gainer on index

* Energy stocks cap gains on ASX 200

* Iress Ltd marks best session ever (Updates to close)

June 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Thursday, led by technology and banking stocks, while global markets closely watched for U.S inflation data for clues on how soon the Federal Reserve will start tapering its massive stimulus.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.4% higher at 7,302.5, a day after ending 0.3% lower.

Technology stocks were the best performers on the benchmark index, jumping 2% to close at a more than one-month high.

Buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay Ltd gained 1%, while Iress Ltd marked its best session ever after local media reported that investment bank Barrenjoey was interested in buying a stake in the financial technology company.

Brad Smoling, managing director at Smoling Stockbreaking, said the jump in tech stocks was not predicated on anything significant and that stocks like Afterpay were over-priced.

“I do think that the CPI figure is going to be on higher side, in which case we will see a tech sell-off,” he warned.

Banks rose 0.4%, with three of the so-called “Big Four” closing in positive territory.

Domestic gold stocks recorded gains, even as bullion prices remained largely subdued, with investors turning cautious ahead of the U.S. inflation data and a European Central Bank meeting.

Andromeda Metals surged 20.9% to close at its highest since April 21 after signing a binding offtake agreement with China-based Jiangsu Mineral Sources International Trading Co.

Energy stocks fell 1.1% and capped gains on the index, as oil prices fell on weaker-than-expected fuel demand.

Major oil and gas explorers Santos Ltd and Woodside Petroleum Ltd fell 0.9% and 1.5% respectively, with the latter recording its worst session since May 21.

Shipbuilder Austal Ltd closed at a near one-week low after the country’s corporate regulator launched a legal action for alleged disclosure breaches.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.4% lower at 12,518.01. (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)