(Updates to close)
March 15 Australian shares closed up slightly on
Wednesday, recovering from losses earlier in the session after a
late rally in mining stocks.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended the session up 0.3
percent, or 14.86 points, at 5,774.
The mining index rose 1 percent for a third straight
day of gains, led by BHP Billiton Ltd and Fortescue
Metals Group Ltd, which rose 1.5 percent and 5.7
Iron ore futures in China surged more than 5 percent, after
steel prices rose to a three-year high on hopes for strong
Real estate stocks also ended higher with GPT Group
gaining 3.1 percent and Viva Energy Reit Ltd closing 5
Dairy company Bega Cheese Ltd climbed 4.5 percent,
hitting a 20-week closing high.
The financials index edged up 0.2 percent as
investors kept an eye on the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is
expected to announce a hike in interest rates later on
Five companies in the S&P/ASX 200 index posted 52-week
highs, while three fell to one-year lows.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.6
percent, or 45.79 points, to finish the session at 7,131.3
Materials, industrials and consumer discretionary stocks
were the biggest drag on the index.
Building material supplier Fletcher Building Ltd
fell 2.1 percent to hit an eight-month closing low.
New Zealand Refining Company Ltd was the biggest
loser on the index, sliding 4.6 percent to a four-month low.
(Reporting by Shashwat Pradhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Randy