* NZ falls as Auckland reinstates lockdown
* Improving FB-Aussie govt talks helps tech sector
* Healthcare stocks set for best day in nearly two weeks
March 1 (HeadlineNews) – Australian shares rose more than 1% on Monday, after some of the country’s most populous states further eased restrictions over the weekend as the regions recorded no community transmissions of the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 1.5% at 6,775.60, as of 0045 GMT. The benchmark finished 2.4% lower on Friday.
Life across Australia inched toward pre-pandemic normal, with New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia states allowing some dancing and Victoria permitting larger crowds at sporting events.
The Australian technology sub-index was top gainer on the benchmark, rising as much as 2.8% and set for its best session since Feb. 10, helped in part by the recent improvement in talks between Facebook and the Australian government.
Altium Ltd advanced nearly 4% and was on track for its biggest intraday percentage gain since Oct. 8, 2020, while Afterpay Ltd added about 4.2%.
Healthcare stocks rose more than 2% and were headed for their best day in nearly two weeks.
Clinuvel Pharma climbed about 3.5% to a near nine-week high, while Pro Medicus gained close to 4.3%.
The heavyweight finanical index rose 1.4%, with the “Big Four” banks gaining between 0.7% and 1.3%.
Bucking the upward trend, gold stocks tumbled up to 1.6%, as bullion prices slumped with a stronger dollar and elevated U.S. Treasury yields hammering non-yielding metal’s appeal.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slid 0.3% to 12,188.65, after Auckland imposed a second lockdown this past month, as authorities try to rein in a cluster of the more contagious UK variant.
Skycity Entertainment fell nearly 4% after the company announced certain measures in response to the government’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips