(Updates to close)
Jan 5 Australian shares closed higher in thin
trade on Thursday mirroring gains on Wall Street, pushed up by
financials and basic materials stocks gaining on higher base
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.3 percent, or 16.89
points higher, to 5753.3. Trading volumes were 0.7 times the
U.S. shares ended higher on Wednesday despite Federal
Reserve's December meeting showing concerns that quicker
economic growth under President-elect Donald Trump could require
faster interest rate increases to ward off inflation.
The basic materials index gained 0.42 percent, its
highest since Sept. 2, 2014, powered by an overnight surge in
copper price on a brightening demand outlook for Chinese metals.
Copper miners Oz Minerals Ltd and Sandfire
Resources NL gained 3.42 percent and 3.61 percent
Mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd rose 0.1 percent,
tracking three consecutive session of gains, while peer Rio
Tinto Ltd gained 0.2 percent.
The gold index closed 2.5 percent higher on the back
of rising gold prices, with Newcrest Mining Ltd gaining
The financial index gained 0.45 percent to end at
its highest in over 17 months, with the "Big Four" banks leading
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd
followed suite by ending at its highest in 17 months up 0.4
percent, while National Australia Bank Ltd gained 0.9
Engineering and construction giant WorleyParsons Ltd
rose 2.4 percent after announcing renewal of a general
engineering services contract with Saudi Aramco.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended flat
as losses in industrials and consumer cyclicals were offset by
gains in telecom services and utilities.
Auckland International Airport Ltd ended 1.1
percent lower, while Spark New Zealand Ltd gained 2.9
percent, its highest in nearly a month.
(Reporting by Sandhya Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric