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SYDNEY/WELLINGTON: Australian shares rose on Thursday, led by technology and banking stocks, while global markets closely watched for U.S inflation data for clues on how soon the Federal Reserve will start tapering its massive stimulus.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.4% higher at 7,302.5, a day after ending 0.3% lower.

Technology stocks were the best performers on the benchmark index, jumping 2% to close at a more than one-month high.

Buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay Ltd gained 1%, while Iress Ltd marked its best session ever after local media reported that investment bank Barrenjoey was interested in buying a stake in the financial technology company.

Andromeda Metals surged 20.9% to close at its highest since April 21 after signing a binding offtake agreement with China-based Jiangsu Mineral Sources International Trading Co. Energy stocks fell 1.1% and capped gains on the index, as oil prices fell on weaker-than-expected fuel demand.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.4% lower at 12,518.01.

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