(Updates to close)
May 22 Australian stocks closed stronger on
Monday, although off session highs, as upticks in commodity
prices lifted miners and oil companies, while financial shares
offered a helping hand.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 43.791 points or 0.76
percent to 5,771.2 at the close of trade.
Majors BHP Billiton Rio Tinto and
Fortescue Metals Group led gains as iron ore prices
Iron ore traded on the Dalian Commodity Exchange
jumped more than 3 percent on Monday, while Chinese steel
futures hit a nine-week peak.
Reports that an OPEC-led supply cut may not only be
extended into next year but might also be deepened to tighten
the market and prop up prices lifted oil prices in Asian
trading, extending Friday's gains.
Oil majors Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search
rose accordingly, with the energy index ending
2.15 percent higher.
Origin Energy was also among the top performers on
the index, closing 3.95 percent higher.
Gains in financials were led by Commonwealth Bank of
Australia rising 1.3 percent and Westpac Banking Corp
up 0.8 percent.
The financials index ended 0.58 percent higher.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.24
percent or 17.39 points to finish the session at 7,409.500.
Gains were led by telecom shares, with Spark New Zealand
up 2.9 percent, and Chorus up 1.8 percent.
(Reporting by Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric