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Australia shares climb as Biden infra plan lifts sentiment

* AMP tops ASX200 gainers with 5.5% rise, co appoints group CEO

* Financials dip as regulators take action on Macquarie Bank, CBA

* Australia, New Zealand markets closed on Friday

April 1 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Thursday, tracking an overnight Wall Street rally that was driven by tech stocks and as U.S. President Joe Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure investment plan lifted investor sentiment globally.

The S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 0.2% to 6,804.90 by 0027 GMT, also helped by data showing Australian home prices rose at the fastest pace in three decades in March and February retail sales fell less than expected.

However, the index was down 0.2% so far in the week. Australia and New Zealand markets are closed on Friday for the Good Friday holiday.

On Wednesday, Biden called for a sweeping use of government power to reshape the world’s largest economy and counter China’s rise in a $2 trillion-plus proposal.

Sentiment from U.S. markets and strong mining gains lifted the Australian benchmark index, but market moves are likely to be quieter given the long weekend ahead, said James Tao, a market analyst at CommSec.

In Australia, miners rose 1.3% as Chinese iron ore futures climbed in early trade. BHP Group and Rio Tinto added 0.6% and 1.4%, respectively.

Financials was largely weaker amid regulatory pressure.

Macquarie Group traded about 1.5% lower after the prudential regulator ordered the company’s banking unit to increase its cash reserves following material breaches of prudential standards that it said raised serious concerns about the lender’s risk controls.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia slipped about 0.5%. Australia’s securities regulator said it had started civil penalty proceedings against the bank, alleging it charged wrong monthly access fees from its customers.

Wealth manager AMP was a bright spot on the index, rising nearly 5.5% to the top of ASX200, after it named deputy chief of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Alexis George as its new group chief executive officer.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5% to 12,560.70. (Reporting by Vasudha Kaukuntla in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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