June 26, 2020 / 7:17 AM / 17 days ago

CORRECTED-Australian shares rise, end week lower on virus spread fears; NZ flat

(Corrects to “losing streak” from “winning streak” in first bullet)

* Financials snap 3-day losing streak

* Qantas Airways tumbles 9.1%

* NZ benchmark posts second weekly fall in five

By Pranav A K

June 26 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Friday, boosted by financials and mining stocks, but ended lower for the week as surging coronavirus infections stirred doubts about a quick economic recovery.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 1.5% higher at 5,904.10. But the benchmark lost 0.7% over the week, posting its second weekly fall in nine.

Financial stocks advanced 2.7%, recovering from Thursday’s slump to snap three days of losses, led by the “Big Four” banks, which rose between 2.4% and 3.3%.

Local banks took cues from U.S. peers, which helped Wall Street end higher overnight after regulators loosened rules to allow banks to make larger investments in riskier vehicles.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia will stick with plans to further ease coronavirus curbs, despite rising cases in the second most populous state of Victoria.

Supported by firm commodity prices, the metals & mining index rose 2%. Heavyweights BHP Group and Rio Tinto added 2.9% and 2%, respectively.

As Australia nears the end of its financial year in June, there was a little bit of end of financial year “window dressing” in some spots of trading, said Henry Jennings, senior analyst at Marcustoday Financial Newsletter.

Energy stocks also ended 2% higher, snapping a four-day losing streak, buoyed by a rise in crude prices, which rose on optimism about recovering fuel demand worldwide.

Shares of Qantas Airways dropped the most in over three months, finishing 9.1% lower after the national carrier said it raised about $940 million through an institutional placement.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended flat, with gains among financial and healthcare stocks offset by losses in utilities and industrials.

The benchmark finished up 0.04% to 11,129.23, but fell 1.1% for the week, its second weekly fall in five.

Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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