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Financials

Australia shares notch 7-day winning streak; NZ closes at record high

* Miners rally further, Fortescue Metals hits all-time peak

* Positive COVID-19 vaccine news lifts healthcare stocks

* Infratil jumps 20% after rejecting takeover offer (Updates to close)

Dec 9 (Reuters) - Australian shares extended gains into a seventh session on Wednesday as markets advanced across the globe on positive COVID-19 vaccine news, while Infratil helped New Zealand stocks close at a record high.

The S&P/ASX 200 index settled 0.6% higher at 6,728.5, carving out its longest winning streak since the first-half of October.

Global stock markets posted strong gains as Britain on Tuesday became the first Western nation to begin a wide vaccination campaign, and Johnson & Johnson reported it could obtain late-stage trial results for a single-dose vaccine in January, earlier than expected.

In Australia, analysts were upbeat about the prospects of an economic recovery. ANZ analysts said the outlook for next year was very positive, with the novel coronavirus seemingly under control, the prospect of a vaccine in the first half of 2021 and a substantial amount of stimulus supporting the economy.

They now expect the gross domestic product to reach its pre-pandemic level by the third quarter of 2021, with the economy expected to grow 4.4% through the year.

Gains in miners showed no signs of losing steam, with the sub-index rising for the seventh straight session as Chinese coking coal futures hit a record high, while brokerages see the rally extending into 2021.

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd hit an all-time peak after the miner said it saw strong iron ore consumption next year on solid Chinese steel demand as well as a post-COVID-19 recovery in other markets.

Healthcare stocks gained as much as 2.5%, with Healius Ltd rising more than 6% on upbeat outlook and buyback plans.

Tech shares, on the other hand, tracked gains in their U.S. peers and hit a new high.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index climbed 1.3%, with Infratil Ltd leading gains after rejecting a NZ$5.37 billion ($3.78 billion) takeover offer from AustralianSuper. (Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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