March 23 Australian shares edged up on Thursday,
led by a rally in basic material and industrial stocks, after
three straight sessions of declines triggered by doubts about
U.S. President Donald Trump's pro-growth policies.
Some investors fear that if Trump's healthcare reform act
runs into trouble or takes longer than expected to pass, then
his tax reform policies may also face setbacks.
The current House Republican plan is scheduled for a floor
vote on Thursday.
The S&P/ASX 200 index had risen 0.1 percent, or 3.99
points, to 5,688.5 by 0053 GMT, after closing 1.6 pct lower in
the previous session, its sharpest fall in over four months.
"Yesterday was clearly a big risk-off trade day and it's
sort of pulling through across the board," said Evan Lucas, a
market strategist at IG Markets.
"The Australian market as a whole is experiencing a little
bit of a pull-up from yesterday's selling."
Australia's three biggest miners by market value, BHP
Billiton Ltd, Rio Tinto Ltd and Fortescue
Metals Group Ltd rose in a range of 1 percent to 1.3
The rally came on the back of copper rebounding from a
two-week low on Wednesday as investors took advantage of a
correction to rebuild long positions.
Industrials and utilities also piggybacked on broad-based
gains, with Seven Group Holdings Ltd leading the rise
in industrials, while Origin Energy Ltd was the biggest
gainer among utilities.
Energy stocks rose as oil prices recovered, with Oil Search
Ltd and Santos Ltd up 0.8 percent and 0.6
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New Zealand's benchmark stock index was 0.27 percent
lower at 7,040.95 after the country's central bank held interest
rates at a record low of 1.75 percent but reiterated global
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand said it would stay on hold
for a considerable period of time, while underscoring that
numerous uncertainties remain, especially in respect of
The benchmark stock index was dragged down by consumer and
financial stocks, with Fletcher Building Ltd down 5
Westpac Banking Corp and ANZ's NZ-listed stocks
were down 0.6 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.
Telcos were led down by Spark New Zealand, which
fell 1 percent after TeamTalk Ltd's directors rejected
Spark's takeover offer.
(Reporting by Rushil Dutta; Additional reporting by Susan
Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)