Australia shares rise on boost from healthcare, mining; NZ down

* Dalian iron ore hits record high, miners surge

* Energy stocks jump as oil prices at highest since Nov. 2018

* Gold miners among top gainers amid firm prices (Updates to close)

April 8 (Reuters) - Australian shares were given a boost on Monday by gains in mining and healthcare firms, with upbeat U.S. jobs data helping ease some of the anxiety over a broad slowdown globally and in the world's biggest economy.

Wall Street stocks rose on Friday after U.S. nonfarm payrolls data beat expectations in a much-needed boost to fragile investor confidence.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.65 percent or 40.1 points at 6,221.4, recouping some of 0.8 percent losses on Friday.

"Many of the underlying commodities are in the uptrend at the moment and that would see continued support for the miners... Prices remain elevated and there could be further gains in the sector," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

Miners jumped 1.7 percent as Dalian iron ore prices extended an impressive rally, hitting a record high. Mining behemoths BHP Group rose 1.4 percent, while Rio Tinto advanced 1.5 percent.

Fortescue Metals Group rose 2.8 percent, posting its ninth winning session out of ten.

Increased demand from China for steelmaking raw materials as industrial activity returns to full swing at the end of winter supported prices, amid declining shipments from Brazil and Australia.

Resolute Mining was the top gainer on index, up 7.7 percent, after its March quarter gold production rose 33 percent from the prior quarter.

Other gold miners also rallied after gold prices rose to a one-week peak, with the country's biggest gold miner Newcrest Mining gaining 1.4 percent.

On the downside, rare-earths miner Lynas Corporation slipped amid signs of tightening regulations, with the firm facing the prospect of losing the operating license for its processing plant in Malaysia.

Also boosting the index were healthcare stocks, which rose 1.5 percent, with benchmark heavyweight CSL Ltd putting on 1.8 percent.

Energy stocks rose in tandem with oil prices, with Woodside Petroleum up 1.3 percent and Oil Search tacking on 1.1 percent.

Financial stocks underperformed, with the "Big Four" banks edging lower, as the sector took a breather after a strong six-session rally that ended on Thursday.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.51 percent or 49.97 points to finish at 9,807.08.

Transportation and energy services provider Infratil slipped 1.6 percent after it cut its earnings guidance for the 2019 year. (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

2019-04-08 09:04:22

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