(Updates to close)
May 30 Australia's shares ended modestly higher
on Tuesday, helped by gains in the Big Four banks, which rose
after the government delayed the date of payment of bank tax and
excluded some liabilities from the levy.
The S&P/ASX 200 index finished up 0.2 percent at
5,717.90. On Monday, the benchmark dropped 0.8 percent.
The government delayed the date of the first payment of its
A$6.2 billion ($4.61 billion) bank tax by three months.
The legislation did not include any sunset clause, as sought
by the banks.
The 'Big 4' Australian banks gained as a result in a range
of about 1 percent to 1.5 percent.
Macquarie Group was about 0.8 percent up.
Earlier housing data from the Australian Bureau of
Statistics showed April building approvals rose 4.4 percent from
the prior month but declined 17.2 percent from a year earlier.
The data came on the back of regulators' attempts to cool
an overheated housing market by imposing limits on mortgage
lending by big banks, denting their outlook.
Miners recovered from a rout on Monday after tensions over a
potential iron-ore tax on mining giants Rio Tinto and
BHP by the Western Australia state government eased.
Rio Tinto and BHP shares were up about 1 percent and 0.7
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index closed 0.79
points lower at 7,411.95 as losses in energy stocks offset gains
in cosumer driven stocks.
Z Energy was the benchmark's biggest loser by
weight, down 1.6 percent.
($1 = 1.3455 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Rushil Dutta; Editing by Kim Coghill)