Australian shares bounce on miners, energy stocks; NZ falls

* Aussie benchmark tracks Wall Street gains

* Lynas Corp falls on Malaysian regulatory pressure

* NZ drops for fourth straight session

By Aby Jose Koilparambil

April 8 (Reuters) - Australian shares started the week on firm footing on Monday, tracking Wall Street gains and with miners and energy stocks leading the rally as stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs growth eased concerns about the world's largest economy.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.5 percent to 6,211.30 by 0023 GMT. The benchmark had extended losses to a second consecutive day on Friday, ending 0.8 percent lower, as investors booked profits after a seven-session bull run.

The positive U.S. nonfarm payrolls data provided some reassurance two weeks after the yield curve between three-month treasury bills and 10-year notes briefly inverted, in what is commonly viewed as a sign of an oncoming recession.

"Aussie stocks have got positive momentum at the moment. It's not just about the U.S. jobs numbers. The optimism around U.S.-China trade talks is also an important factor for the good gains this morning," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

Prominent among the gainers Down Under were mining stocks with the red-hot iron ore prices continuing to bolster the sector against the backdrop of global supply concerns for the steel-making raw material.

The Metals and Mining sub-index rose up to 1 percent with index heavyweights BHP Group and Rio Tinto putting on 0.9 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively, while major iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group advanced 1.8 percent.

"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," added McCarthy.

Energy stocks were lifted by higher oil prices, which gained 1.5 percent on Friday, on the U.S. employment data and on expectations that an escalating conflict in Libya could tighten supplies.

Oil and gas explorer Beach Energy Ltd tacked on 2.5 percent and oil services firm WorleyParsons Ltd added 2.2 percent to be among the top percentage gainers on the energy sub-index.

However, the little-changed financials, the largest sector in the benchmark, capped further overall gains , weighed down by the Big Four banks.

Rare earths miner Lynas Corp shed 3.3 percent after the firm said it was considering initial ore processing close to its Australian mine owing to intense regulatory pressure from Malaysia where it has a processing plant.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slipped for a fourth successive session, falling 0.4 percent to 9,817.52.

Energy and transport services firm Infratil Ltd dropped as much as 3.5 per cent after it revised down its underlying earnings guidance for the 2019 financial year. (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

2019-04-08 03:14:28

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