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Australia shares end higher on Ukraine summit plan; AGL soars | MarketScreener

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Feb 21 (Reuters) – Australia shares rose on Monday as the
prospect of a diplomatic solution to the Russian-Ukraine
standoff boosted investor sentiment, while the country’s biggest
power producer AGL Energy marked its best session after
rejecting a premium buyout bid.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index reversed course to
end 0.2% higher at 7,233.6, after falling to a two-week low
earlier in the session. The benchmark had closed 1% lower on
Friday.

Heightened geopolitical risks combined with inflationary
concerns have added to the pressure on global markets in recent
weeks.

U.S. President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart
Vladimir Putin agreed in principle to hold a summit on the
Ukraine crisis, raising hopes for reaching a diplomatic
solution.

Further lifting risk appetite, Australia fully reopened its
international borders to travellers vaccinated against the
coronavirus after nearly two years of pandemic-related closings.

Shares of AGL Energy jumped as much as 13% after
turning down a surprise $3.54 billion takeover approach from
billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes and Canada’s Brookfield Asset
Management.

“The market is very edgy at the moment and it is trying to
jump on anything positive,” said Mathan Somasundaram, chief
executive officer, Deep Data Analytics.

Gold stocks advanced 0.5%, with heavyweights
Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources
gaining 0.9% and 1.4%, respectively.

The “Big Four” banks advanced between 0.1% and 1.4% to help
financial stocks close 0.6% higher.

Since major sectors have already reported their results,
Somasundaram pointed that individual stocks with even slightly
disappointing results might pose a risk for markets this week.

Technology stocks caught the tailwind from a weak
finish on Wall Street to drop 2.7% while healthcare shares
retreated 1.3%.

Across the border, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is
expected to raise rates for the third meeting in a row, a
Reuters poll found.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.1%
higher to finish the session at 12,156.34.
(Reporting by Himanshi Akhand in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry
Jacob-Phillips)

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