REFILE-Australian shares rise on U.S. stimulus hopes; gold index scales fresh peak

(Corrects to add dropped word ‘expanded’ in second paragraph)

* Miners touch 9-year peak as BHP, Rio rise

* Gold hits record high on U.S.-China tensions

* NZ set to snap four-session losing streak

By Arpit Nayak

July 28 (Reuters) – Australian shares gained on Tuesday after U.S. Republicans proposed a $1 trillion coronavirus aid package, with sentiment aided by gold stocks scaling a fresh peak.

The package was hammered out with the White House and paved the way to engage with Democrats to formulate a relief plan for millions of American workers as expanded unemployment benefits expire this week.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1% to 6,102.3 by 0108 GMT.

Overnight, Wall Street ended higher and big tech firms led the charge.

However, the cheer was somewhat dulled as Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd warned further virus-related deaths could be expected in days to come as cases resurge in the country, with Victoria being the worst-affected.

Gold stocks were the best performers on the benchmark, as fraying relations between the United States and China drove investors towards the safety of the bullion, which soared to a record high.

Australia-listed shares of AngloGold Ashanti surged as much as 40.1% after it forecast a solid rise in first-half headline earnings per share due to a strong bullion.

Top miners BHP Group and Rio Tinto rose 2.3% and 4.6%, respectively, boosting the metals and mining sub-index to a nine-year high.

Industry heavyweight CSL advanced 1.4% and accounted for a large chunk of gains among healthcare stocks .

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.7% to 11,666.68 and was set to snap four consecutive sessions of losses.

Local shares of Westpac Banking Corp rose 1%, while dairy producer a2 Milk added 2%.

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