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CORRECTED-Australian shares inch higher on gold, energy stocks; Woolworths caps gains

(Corrects to remove reference to Japanese stocks in paragraph 10 as the market is closed)

April 29 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Thursday, helped by energy and gold stocks that tracked higher prices of underlying commodities, although gains were capped by a disappointing earnings report from supermarket giant Woolworths .

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.15% to 7,075.6 by 0029 GMT. The index closed 0.4% higher on Wednesday.

Shares of Ansell were among the top gainers on the benchmark for the second day in a row, rising nearly 5%. The medical devices maker projected strong sales growth for the half year and full year on Wednesday.

The top percentage loser was Woolworths Group Ltd, down 3.4%, as the company signalled an end to a pandemic-powered sales boost it had enjoyed last year and said its current quarter was trading flat.

Gold stocks rose 2%, as bullion prices jumped overnight after the U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged

Resolute Mining was among the top gainers on the sub-index. The miner reaffirmed its 2021 guidance despite posting lower gold production on-quarter.

The energy index rose 0.74%, tracking Wednesday’s rise in oil prices. Viva Energy Group led the gains on the index for a third straight day with a 2.8% rise.

The metals and mining index rose 0.6%, helped by a more than 2% rise in gold miner Newcrest Mining after it beat production estimates for the quarter.

However, Fortescue Metals Group was a laggard with a near 2% drop after it reported flat third-quarter iron ore shipments.

In other markets, S&P 500 E-minis futures were up 15 points, or 0.36%.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.11% to 12,660.6. The top percentage gainers were Z Energy Ltd , up 1.97%, followed by A2 Milk Company Ltd, gaining 1.86%. (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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