June 21 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose marginally on Friday, led by mining and gold stocks, although dwindling hopes of an interest rate cut due to the central bank's hawkish stance on inflation continued to weigh on sentiment and capped further gains.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2% to 7,786.60 by 0003 GMT. The benchmark ended flat on Thursday.

Earlier this week, the Reserve Bank of Australia kept interest rates unchanged at a 12-year high of 4.35% over woes of persistent inflation.

The RBA noted that inflation was still above the bank's target band, prompting market concerns that even a rate increase could be on the cards, if needed, to control inflation.

Gold stocks were the top gainers on the benchmark index, rising 0.7%, in tandem with strong bullion prices.

Gold miners Evolution Mining and Northern Star Resources rose 2% and 1.5%, respectively.

Mining stocks rose 0.4% on higher copper prices.

Sector's giants BHP Group and Rio Tinto rose 0.4% and 0.6%, respectively, while Fortescue fell 0.4%.

Healthcare stocks rose 0.7%, with sector major CSL rising 0.8%.

Talga Group rose as much as 5.3%, after the battery metals firm said it had entered a partnership with Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. to fund the exploration of its offshore lithium project in Sweden.

Pilbara Minerals fell as much as 2.2%, after the miner said it expects to incur additional capital expenditure of A$1.2 billion ($798.96 million) for the construction of a new flotation plant to increase its production capacity at its onshore Pilgangoora operations.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5% to 11,717.30.

($1 = 1.5020 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Shivangi Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)