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Australian shares rose for a third session on Thursday, helped by gains in heavyweight financials and commodity stocks, while Whitehaven Coal slumped after forecasting weaker-than-expected annual managed coal output and suspending a buyback programme.

The S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 0.3% to 7,170.9 by 0056 GMT, also tracking overnight gains on Wall Street. The benchmark firmed about 0.4% on Wednesday.

Investors were waiting for Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to speak at an annual central bank summit in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday when he might provide more clues about the US interest rate outlook, even as a Fed official raised the prospects of Powell delivering a more hawkish message.

In Sydney, gold stocks took the centre-stage, rising about 2.1% after bullion prices jumped due to receding US treasury yields.

Sector majors Northern Star Resources and Newcrest Mining gained about 4.6% and 1.5%, respectively.

Financials, which make up a third of the benchmark, advanced 0.9%.

The country’s big four banks gained between 0.4% and 1%.

Technology and mining stocks rose 1.9% and 0.1%, respectively.

Among individual stocks, Qantas Airways climbed as much as 3.2% after the country’s flagship airline reported a record annual profit on the back of resilient travel demand.

Whitehaven Coal slumped as much as 6% after the coal miner forecasted weaker-than-expected annual managed coal output for fiscal 2024 and said it would suspend its buyback programme as it might need to allocate money to growth projects.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell about 0.3% to 11,542.4.

Air New Zealand climbed as much as 3.3% as the carrier signalled robust customer demand for the 2024 financial year after posting a large annual profit.

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