July 15, 2020 / 1:59 AM / 24 days ago

Australia shares chase Wall Street higher; NZ rises

* Gold sub-index rises nearly 3% on firm bullion

* Mining sub-index hits its highest since January

* Napier Port down on dismal qtrly trade volumes

By Arundhati Dutta

July 15 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Wednesday as investors looked past a spike in COVID-19 cases to overnight gains on Wall Street, with gold stocks leading the charge on firm bullion prices.

The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 1.2% to 6,012.8 by 1238 GMT, bouncing back from Tuesday's 0.6% fall, even as Australia tightened restrictions on movement to contain a fresh outbreak of COVID-19 that has pushed its case tally beyond 10,000.

Overnight, the three major indexes on Wall Street jumped between 0.9% and 2.1%, despite a record daily rise in COVID-19 deaths in three Southern U.S. states.

Lifting investor sentiment, the United Kingdom said on Tuesday the first round of trade talks with Australia had been "productive".

All major sectors rose for the day, with the gold sub-index adding about 3%. Newcrest Mining, the country's biggest listed gold miner, gained up to 3.5%.

The energy sub-index climbed as much as 2.8% on firm oil prices.

Shares of Woodside Petroleum fell 1.4% after the country's biggest independent gas producer posted a 29% sequential drop in quarterly revenue.

Meanwhile, Origin Energy said it would book full-year impairments of about A$1.2 billion ($838.92 million) after tax due to a coronavirus-induced blow to oil and gas prices.

The mining sub-index climbed 2.8% to its highest since January after iron one prices jumped on Tuesday.

Heavyweights BHP Group and Rio Tinto gained more than 2% each.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.7% to 11,570.8.

The top percentage gainer on the benchmark was Vista Group International Ltd with a jump of 6.7%, while Napier Port Holdings Ltd was one of the top losers after reporting dismal quarterly trade volumes.

$1 = 1.4304 Australian dollars Reporting by Arundhati Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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