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Australian shares rise to two-week high as energy stocks rally

May 25 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose to a two-week high on Tuesday, as a more than 3% jump in oil prices boosted energy stocks, with sentiment aided by an overnight rally on Wall Street.

The S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 0.5% to 7,079.1 by 0038 GMT, on track for its fourth straight session of gains. The benchmark ended up 0.2% on Monday.

Heavyweight energy stocks firmed 1.4% as crude prices leapt after traders were hopeful that a boost in demand due to COVID-19 vaccinations would accommodate any potential Iranian oil supply.

Sector leaders Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search Ltd rose 0.8% and 1.4%, respectively.

The tech index jumped as much as 1.5%, tracking a rally on the tech-heavy Nasdaq, with the subindex headed for its fourth day of gains.

U.S. stocks were buoyed as a retreat in benchmark Treasury yields helped lift expensive stocks in sectors such as technology.

Investors now keenly await inflation data due in the United States later this week to determine the Federal Reserve’s direction on monetary policy.

Among other stocks and sectors, software firm TechnologyOne Ltd was the top percentage gainer on the Australian benchmark, jumping 7.3%, followed by intelligence software provider Nuix Ltd.

The healthcare index advanced 0.8% to hit its highest in more than five months. Index heavyweight CSL Ltd led gains with a 1.2% rise.

In contrast, gold stocks eased 0.3% even as the precious metal inched higher on support from a weaker dollar and lower U.S. Treasury yields.

Gold miner Resolute Mining Ltd skidded 4.3%, followed by Dacian Gold Ltd, down 3.1%.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.2% to 12,430.5 a day ahead of the country’s central bank’s meeting.

In other markets, Japan’s Nikkei was up 0.4% at 28470.52, and the S&P 500 E-minis futures were up 3 points, or 0.1%.

Reporting by Riya Sharma in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

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