Australian shares closed higher on Wednesday, lifted by gains in healthcare stocks after biotech firm CSL beat half-year earnings estimates and said it expected its blood plasma collection business to return to pre-pandemic levels.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.1% to 7,284.90, following a 0.5% drop on Tuesday.

Healthcare stocks led the gains, climbing 6.2%. CSL Ltd jumped 8.5% in its best day since March 30, 2020, after the biopharmaceutical giant said the underlying demand for its blood plasma products was still quite robust.

"Health stocks are certainly on the consciousness of investors," said Brad Smoling, managing director of Smoling Stockbroking.

"I don't see any downside factors that would cause a problem for them at this stage."

Miners lost 0.5% in their third straight session of losses, as iron ore prices tumbled due to fears of a China clampdown amid price misinformation warnings.

Fortescue Metals Group slid 2% after the world's fourth-largest iron ore miner said its first-half profit tumbled a third.

Among other miners, BHP Group slipped 1.8%, while Rio Tinto was up 0.2%.

Santos Ltd slumped 2.8%, dragging the energy index down 0.7% after the oil and gas firm said it might not make final go-ahead decisions on its Alaska and Australia oil projects.

Technology stocks rose 1.2%, tracking Wall Street's sharp rise overnight on signs of de-escalating Russia-Ukraine tensions.

Block Inc's Australian shares, Computershare and WiseTech Global advanced between 1.1% and 2.7%.

Australia's central bank is scheduled to release the country's employment data on Thursday, which analysts expect to be line with expectations and give further cues on the state of the economy.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 1.5% to 12,121.89, with construction firm Fletcher Building climbing 6.7% on strong half-year earnings.


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