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Australia shares hit more than 8-month high on Biden win; NZ at record peak

* Aussie benchmark hits highest since Mar. 6

* Mining stocks jump nearly 3%, lead gains

* New Zealand benchmark hits record high

Nov 9 (Reuters) - Australian shares climbed more than 1% on Monday reaching their highest level since March, as Joe Biden’s victory in the U.S. presidential race buoyed risk sentiment and weakness in the U.S. dollar lifted miners.

Biden’s victory in the battleground state of Pennsylvania put him over the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes he needed to clinch the U.S. presidency on Saturday.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.6% to 6291.8 points in early trade on Monday as investors welcomed Biden’s win.

“Trading this morning has a risk-on flavour, reflecting increasing confidence that Joe Biden will occupy the White House, but the Republican Party will retain control of the Senate”, said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets and Stockbroking.

“The outcome is ideal from a market point of view. Neither party controls the Congress, so both trade wars and higher taxes are largely off the agenda”, added McCarthy.

Mining stocks led gains, climbing nearly 3% in best intraday session in five months, as a weaker U.S. dollar bode well for commodity prices.

Lithium miners Pilbara Minerals and Galaxy Resources were among the top percentage gainers on the sub-index.

A Biden victory would likely lead to an increase in domestic production of lithium, copper and other metals used to make electric vehicles, solar panels and other products crucial to his climate plan.

Australia-listed shares of global mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Group gained about 3% each.

Among individual stocks, online real estate advertising firm REA Group led gains on the benchmark, after Jefferies raised price target on the company following upbeat first-quarter results reported last week.

Top gold producer Newcrest Mining hit more than a two-week high as the yellow metal stocks inched up more than 2%.

Tech stocks too gained, with buy-now-pay-later heavyweight Afterpay Ltd rising nearly 4%.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 1.7%, hitting a record high and eyeing its fifth consecutive session of gains.

The top percentage gainers on the index were Synlait Milk Ltd, followed by Air New Zealand Ltd and Chorus Ltd.

Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael Perry

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