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Australia, NZ shares rise tracking Wall Street on stimulus boost

June 25 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Friday, following record gains on Wall Street overnight, as U.S. President Joe Biden embraced an infrastructure deal that is expected to drive the next leg of recovery in the world’s largest economy.

The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.4% at 7,304.80 by 0041 GMT, after falling 0.3% in the previous session.

Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.67% and S&P 500 E-minis futures were up 0.09%

Investors are awaiting a $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill, and President Biden overnight declared “we have a deal”, sending U.S. shares rallying with large construction firms gaining most.

Closer home, gains were relatively muted, as Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, reported a double-digit rise in new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 for the fourth straight day, as it battles a fresh outbreak.

Miners rose the most on the benchmark, up 1.3%, extending gains for a fourth straight session. Mining heavyweights BHP Group and Rio Tinto gained as much as 1.2% and 1.6%, respectively.

Lithium producer Pilbara Minerals saw its stock hit a record high, jumping nearly 4%, after the company said its board had approved a staged restart of its Ngungaju plant in Western Australia during the December quarter.

Gold stocks jumped 1.4%, with the country’s largest listed gold miner Newcrest Mining advancing as much as 1.6%.

Financials climbed more than 0.9%, snapping a two-day losing streak, as the so-called “Big Four” banks gained.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, National Australian Bank and Westpac Banking Corp about 1% each.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2% to 12,617.48, recording its fourth consecutive week of gains.

Dairy producer A2 Milk Company was the top gainer on the bourse, up 3.1%

Reporting by Vasudha Kaukuntla in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel

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