(Updates to close)
April 24 Australian shares ended slightly higher
on Monday as investors unwound their defensive positions
following Emmanuel Macron's victory in the first round of French
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended up 0.3 percent, or 17.66
points, at 5,871.8.
Macron's win, ahead of a May 7 runoff vote, reduces the risk
of a French-exit from the European Union, as opposed to
far-right leader, Marine Le Pen's staunch separatist stance on
Financials accounted for more than half of the benchmark's
gain, with the sector index up as much as 1.1 percent on
a rally in the 'Big Four' Aussie banks and insurers.
Industrials and energy stocks also helped prop up the index
after oil companies jumped on a price rally.
Metal stocks, in particular gold and iron miners, fell after
Gold prices fell on a broad safe-haven sell-off after stocks
shone, while China's most active iron-ore slipped 1.5
BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals and Rio
Tinto were the biggest drags on the index.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.4
percent, or 25.72 points, to finish at 7,222.94, underpinned by
materials and consumer discretionary stocks.
The country's biggest listed construction company, Fletcher
Building led gains, followed by telecom company Chorus
Ltd, which ended 3.2 percent higher.
(Reporting by Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim