(Updates to close)
Oct 6 Australian shares recovered some ground on
Thursday, tracking Wall Street and driven by financial stocks,
after strong U.S. economic data and sharp gains in oil prices
hinted at a recovering global economy.
The S&P/ASX 200 index perked up 30.07 points, or 0.6
percent, to 5,483 at the close of trade.
Data from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) showed
that U.S. services sector activity rebounded to an 11-month high
in September, bolstering prospects of an interest rate hike by
the Federal Reserve in December.
Financials outperformed other sectors on the news, with all
of the 'Big Four' banks rising. The financials index
closed 0.8 percent higher, extending gains for a fourth session.
The energy index gained as much as 2.1 percent and
touched a 1-1/2-month high, buoyed after oil prices rose 2
percent to their highest since June.
Santos Ltd was among the biggest percentage gainers
on the benchmark index, while oil major Woodside Petroleum
touched an over one-month high, hovering around its
highest this year hit on Aug. 25.
Meanwhile, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index
slipped 1.01 percent, or 73.87 points, to finish the session at
7,197.29, dragged down by healthcare and industrial stocks.
Heartland Bank was the biggest percentage loser on
the N.NZ50>, its worst day in around three months.
Bucking the trend, a2 Milk Co gained the most on
the benchmark, on the back of ANZ Bank's commodity price index
data that showed prices for New Zealand's main commodities rose
5.1 percent in September to a 17-month high, driven by dairy
(Reporting by Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by