March 7 Australian shares recouped early losses
on Tuesday as gains in financials and healthcare stocks offset a
heavy selloff in materials and as investors awaited a central
bank policy decision.
The Reserve Bank of Australia is widely expected to keep its
main interest rate unchanged later in the day (0330 GMT) after
its chief said policy may not change all year.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.3 percent, or 19.09
points, to 5,764.80 as of 0100 GMT.
In a sudden turnaround, financials, the biggest index
constituent reversed course and pared early losses, with the
'Big Four' banks trading in positive territory.
Shares of Westpac Banking Group rose 0.7 percent,
while National Australia Bank gained 0.6 percent.
Defensive stocks such as healthcare, consumer staples and
utilities also supported the index.
Biotherapeutics company CSL Limited and hearing
implants maker Cochlear Ltd rose 1.8 percent each.
Meanwhile, shares of Dreamworld owner Ardent Leisure Group
gained 3.1 percent, after the company's theme parks
division reported higher revenue in February compared to the
previous two months.
Iron-ore miners fell heavily, tracking weaker iron ore
futures in China, which fell more than 2 percent on Monday after
inventories at Chinese ports surged to the highest in at least
Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Ltd
dropped more than 1 percent
A third straight day of losses for gold prices on Monday
pressured gold stocks, with the benchmark index slipping as much
as 2.8 percent to its lowest in two months.
Gold miner Newcrest Mining dropped to a one-month
low, while its peers Northern Star Resources Ltd and
Evolution Mining Ltd lost 3.1 percent and 4.9 percent
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index lost 0.13
percent or 9.58 points to 7169.16 by 0018 GMT. Industrials and
utility stocks were the worst performers on the index.
Shares of Auckland International Airport Ltd shed
1.2 percent after the company announced some changes to its
airport executive team.
(Reporting by Anusha Ravindranath in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim