Australian shares snap three days of falls, banks and tech lead rebound

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  • ASX 200 marks best day in three weeks
  • Gains seen across sectors
  • NZX 50 snaps three-day losing streak

March 9 (Reuters) - Australian shares snapped three straight sessions of losses on Wednesday, with banks and technology stocks leading the rebound in broad-based buying, as investors assessed the impact of a worsening conflict in Ukraine.

The S&P/ASX 200 index (.AXJO) closed 1% higher at 7,053.00, marking its best day since Feb. 16.

Market sentiment also got a boost from Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe stressing that the central bank had scope to be patient on hiking interest rates and that a move might be in order later this year. read more

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The financial sub-index (.AXFJ) was the top advancer, rising 1.5% in its best session in a month, as investors sought value after recent selling. The "Big Four" banks rose between 1.1% and 1.9%.

Technology stocks (.AXIJ) jumped 3.2%, marking their first session of rise in five. Novonix (NVX.AX) and WiseTech Global (WTC.AX) were among the top gainers, jumping 8.3% and 6.4%, respectively.

The United States on Tuesday imposed an immediate ban on Russian oil and other energy imports in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine, adding to sweeping U.S. and European sanctions imposed on Moscow.

This gave sky-high oil prices a further boost on Wednesday, with Brent crude futures climbing 1.7% to $130.15 a barrel in early Asia trade.

Meanwhile, base metals soared further, though Chinese stainless steel futures pulled back on uncertainties caused by nickel prices more than doubling on Tuesday.

The Australian mining index (.AXMM) added 0.6% following a 3.6% drop in the previous session, with Fortescue Metals Group (FMG.AX) up 0.9%, while Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) fell 0.5% and capped gains.

Gold stocks (.AXGD) rose 1.8% to their highest since mid-June last year after bullion prices firmed overnight.

Sector heavyweights Northern Star Resources (NST.AX) and Newcrest Mining (NCM.AX) climbed 0.7% and 1.9%, respectively.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index (.NZ50) rose 0.3% to 11,785.13, snapping a three-day run of losses.

Retirement village operator Ryman Healthcare (RYM.NZ) gained 1.4% and dairy firm a2 Milk (ATM.NZ) advanced 0.7%.

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Reporting by Upasana Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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