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Australia shares climb on financials, materials; NZ ends at record high
June 29, 2017 / 7:21 AM / 3 months ago

Australia shares climb on financials, materials; NZ ends at record high

(Updates to close)

June 29 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose to their highest closing level in two weeks with banks and miners pushing the index higher, mirroring solid gains on Wall Street.

The S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 1.1 percent or 62.40 points to 5,818.1.

The overnight rally in Wall Street was helped by financial stocks which rose after the Federal Reserve ratified plans from U.S. banks to use extra capital for stock buybacks and dividends.

Financials accounted for nearly half the gains on the Australian benchmark with the “Big-Four” banks ending between 1.6 percent and 2.4 percent higher.

BT Investment Management Ltd closed 2.4 percent higher while Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd advanced 1.4 percent.

Higher commodity prices helped the materials index end up 2.4 percent, posting a sixth straight session of gains.

Oil futures climbed more than 1 percent on Wednesday to their highest in more than a week while China’s iron ore rallied more than 3 percent.

BHP Billiton Ltd and Fortescue Metals Group jumped over 2.5 percent each.

Gold prices also rose overnight for a second session on a weak dollar following a global cyber-attack and a delay in U.S. healthcare legislation.

Dacian Gold Ltd ended 1.5 percent higher while Northern Star Resources was up 2.5 percent.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.8 percent, or 60.96 points, to a record closing high of 7,685.45. The benchmark posted its biggest rise in more than a month.

Healthcare led the gains with Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp Ltd closing at an all-time high, after having risen as much as 2.4 percent intraday.

Restaurant Brands New Zealand Ltd closed 3 percent higher and was the top gainer on the index while Metro Performance Glass Ltd was the worst performer, ending 0.7 percent lower. (Reporting by Sindhu Chandrasekaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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