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Australian shares end higher on stimulus, hopes of easing curbs

* Benchmark snaps three-day losing streak

* Miners and financials lift the index

* NZ’s a2 Milk hits over 6-month closing low (Updates to close)

Oct 1 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed higher on Thursday, rebounding from a more than 2% drop in the previous session, boosted by stimulus talks and hopes of further easing in coronavirus restrictions in the country.

The S&P/ASX 200 index added 1% to finish at 5,872.9, snapping a three-day streak of losses.

Australian government announced a A$1.5 billion ($1.08 billion) package to revive manufacturing across six sectors as part of a plan to get the economy out of its first recession in three decades.

Aiding sentiment was a headway made by U.S. lawmakers for a new $2.2 trillion pandemic relief package, which helped Wall Street post an upbeat close and exit the September quarter in black.

“Overnight rebound in Wall Street on talks that the U.S. congress was close on stimulus plans only helps boost the sentiment,” said James Tao, market analyst at CommSec.

“Sentiment is a lot more positive compared with just 24 hours ago, and these stimulus talks certainly make a huge difference,” Tao added.

Meanwhile, easing of border restrictions between Queensland and New South Wales also helped the market, while low new daily cases in Victoria kept the hopes of a “COVID-normal” 2021 without lockdowns alive.

All three major sub-indexes jumped, with miners leading the pack. Global iron ore mining giants BHP Group and Rio Tinto advanced up to 1.9% and 1.2%, respectively.

Financials were lifted by Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group , which rose 0.7% and 1%, respectively.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended 0.6% higher at 11,812.73, boosted by financials and healthcare sectors.

Dairy firm a2 Milk Co continued its losing streak, slipping 1% to post its lowest close since March 17. ($1 = 1.3902 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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