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Energy stocks rise on Ukraine concerns

Australian shares closed higher yesterday, lifted by mining and energy stocks as fresh Western sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine stoked worries about supply disruptions. The S&P/ASX 200 index (.AXJO) ended 0.7% higher at 7,049.1, extending gains to a straight session, even as broader Asian markets fell.

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin put the country’s nuclear deterrent on high alert on Sunday in the face of various sanctions due to the crisis in Ukraine, where they are successfully repelling Russian forces on the ground..

"Markets at the moment are still on edge," said Steven Daghlian, a market analyst at CommSec, adding the impact on energy/commodity prices and fears of the overseas war escalating further could also affect Australia.

Leading the pack yesterday, large cap miners BHP Group (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) rose 4.1% and 3.1%, respectively. Gold stocks (.AXGD) climbed 2.9% as gold prices rose towards their best month since May on safe-haven stocks brought about by the deepening Ukraine crisis. Energy stocks (.AXEJ) rose about 1.4% as oil prices jumped, with Woodside Petroleum (WPL) advancing 2.1%.

Miners (.AXMM) led the gains in Australia, rising 3.2% on strong iron ore prices as concerns grew that a prolonged armed conflict between could derail the commodity

"Investors will be looking out for clues this week from the Reserve Bank Australia's meeting and update on economic growth in Australia and the United States", Daghlian said. New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index (NZ50G) also rose 1.69% higher today to 12,180.38.

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