Miners lift Australian shares higher; BHP sweetens Noront bid



Oct 20 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Wednesday as metal-centric stocks jumped on firm commodity prices, while global miner BHP hit a one-month high after topping billionaire Andrew Forrest's bid for nickel miner Noront Resources.

The S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO rose about 1% to 7,447.3 by 0022 GMT.

Miners .AXMM were the biggest boosts on the local bourse, climbing 1.6%, after benchmark iron ore prices recovered from four consecutive sessions of losses overnight to gain up to 1.6%.

The country's big mining names — BHP Group BHP.AX , Rio Tinto RIO.AX and Fortescue Metals FMG.AX — pushed the sub-index higher, climbing between 2.3% and 2.4%.

Global miner BHP also topped a takeover offer for Canadian nickel miner Noront Resources NOT.V by Forrest's Wyloo Metals earlier this week, increasing its offer to C$419.3 million ($339.27 million), or C$0.75 per share.

Online retailer Kogan.com KGN.AX was the top gainer on the local bourse, rising 9.8% to hit its highest in over 1-1/2 months after reporting an increase in gross sales during the September quarter.

The Australian tech index .AXIJ rose 1.9%, tracking Wall Street, which enjoyed the biggest boosts from the technology sector.

Software provider for logistics firms WiseTech Global WTC.AX led gains on the sub-index, advancing 2.8%, while sub-index favourite Afterpay APT.AX added 2.4%, hitting the highest in over three weeks.

Oil and gas explorer Beach Energy BPT.AX declined up to 5% to mark its worst day in nearly three weeks after reporting a 15.7% dip in first-quarter production.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index .NZ50 rose 0.5% to 13,128.1.

($1 = 1.2359 Canadian dollars)
Reporting by Riya Sharma in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

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