* Australian tech stocks track U.S. peers higher
* NZ snaps two consecutive sessions of declines (Updates to close)
By Soumyajit Saha
Feb 5 (Reuters) - Australian shares closed higher on Wednesday, tracking gains in broader Asia on hopes of additional stimulus measures from China to mitigate the impact of a fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.4% to 6,976.1, after a 0.4% gain in the previous session.
China’s central bank is likely to lower its key lending rate on Feb. 20, and cut banks’ reserve requirement ratios in the coming weeks, policy sources told Reuters.
It has already pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into the financial system this week to keep rates from rising and restore confidence in the wake of the outbreak.
Yet, fears lingered as the virus continued to spread and the death toll neared 500, while two U.S. airlines suspended flights to Hong Kong and a quarantined ship in Japan confirmed 10 cases.
“We think the (Australian) market is at a level where it is pricing in pretty much everything it can without a growth upgrade,” Mathan Somasundaram, market portfolio strategist at Blue Ocean Equities, said.
“We’re in a holding pattern for the earnings season.”
Heavyweight miners helped prop up the Australian benchmark index, with BHP Group and Rio Tinto Ltd rising 1.5% and 1.1%, respectively.
Tech stocks climbed more than 2%, tracking U.S. peers.
Subindex leader Computershare Ltd closed more than 1% higher on an agreement to acquire U.S.-based registered agent business Corporate Creations Enterprises LLC.
CIMIC Group advanced 9.8% after the engineering contractor reported higher underlying FY profit and Credit Suisse raised its price target.
Capping the benchmark index’s gain, gold stocks declined as China’s stimulus measures weighed on safe-haven demand.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.8% to 11,604.08 after two straight sessions of losses.
Heavyweights Auckland International Airport Ltd and Meridian Energy ended 3.7% and 3.9% higher, respectively. (Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Shreya Mariam Job; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)