* Benchmarks increased by almost 2%
* Tech stocks rose after 4 days
* Mercury NZ is the highest winner on the NZ index
March 8 (Reuters) – Australian stocks rose sharply on Monday and are set for their best day in two months after the US Senate endorsed a $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid plan, while last week’s upbeat US jobs data also supported sentiment.
The S & P / ASX 200 index was up 1.8% to 6,830.7 at 2240 GMT. The benchmark ended 0.7% lower on Friday.
The US Senate on Saturday endorsed President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 assistance plan, one of the biggest stimulus bills in US history, a day after data showed that the US economy created more jobs than expected in February.
Over the weekend, Australia has also started vaccinating its citizens against the coronavirus with the AstraZeneca vaccine. Inoculation with the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine began in February.
Among the individual sectors, mining stocks rose by 2.8%, with BHP and Rio Tinto gaining 3.4% and 3%, respectively.
Tech stocks rose as much as 2.7%, snapping a fourth straight session of losses. Buy now, pay later, Afterpay increased by 4.6%, while Appen increased by 3.8%.
Financial stocks rose 1.5% to reach their highest level in more than a week. The “Big Four” banks rose between 1.2% and 1.9%.
The best performers in the financial sector were Janus Henderson Group and IOOF Holdings, up 4.7% and 3.1%, respectively.
Energy stocks rose nearly 2% to a 10-week high, following a surge in oil prices. Oil Search rose 4.3%, while Beach Energy gained 3.8%.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S & P / NZX 50 index rose 1.3% to 12,334.3.
The highest percentage increases on the index were Mercury NZ and Synlait Milk, up 3.7% and 2.9%, respectively. (Reporting by Aditya Munjuluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)