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Australian shares rebounded to close at a record high on Friday, driven by miners and banks, on hopes that the country’s central bank might start loosening policy soon, after a softer inflation reading earlier in the week.

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark index closed 1.5% higher at 7,699.4 points, easing slightly after hitting a record high of 7,703.6 points earlier.

That more than made up for a 1.2% drop on Thursday and helped the index clock a 1.9% jump this week, its biggest in seven weeks.

“Australian equities have been going from strength to strength, with investors buoyed by the latest inflation readings and hopeful that interest rate relief could be on the way,” said Tim Waterer, chief market analyst at KCM Trade.

The Reserve Bank of Australia will meet next week, with analysts expecting the central bank to hold its rates at 4.35% and investors watching out for any commentary indicating rates have peaked.

Australian shares retreat from record close as miners, banks fall

Heavyweight miners recovered Thursday’s losses to end 1.2% higher, with mining giants BHP and Fortescue gaining 1.1% and 0.8%, respectively. Rio Tinto dropped 0.2%.

Financial stocks jumped 1.3%, with the “Big Four” banks adding between 1.1% and 1.5%, while real estate stocks rose 3.3% to end at their highest since May 2022.

“Real estate and financial stocks are among the most sensitive to the interest rate outlook, so it’s no surprise to see these sectors leading the charge higher today,” Waterer said.

Tech stocks tracked their U.S. counterparts to climb 3.1% to a five-month high.

The energy sub-index rose 1.1%, with sector majors Woodside and Santos gaining 0.6% and 1.8%, respectively.

Gold stocks surged 3% after a weak dollar boosted sentiment for the precious metal.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.1% to 11,931.23 points.

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