March 30 Australian shares were up for a third
straight session on Thursday helped by basic materials and
energy stocks which benefited from higher commodity and oil
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.4 percent, or 24.58
points, to 5,898.1 by 0106 GMT.
The S&P/ASX 200 Aussie benchmark ended nearly 1 percent
higher in the previous session, recording its best closing
performance in close to two years.
"We’re up 15 points. Certainly continuation of this move is
underway. On the back of two very strong days I expect it’ll
close towards year highs again today," said IG Markets' market
analyst Gary Burton, speaking earlier in the session.
Investors also digested comments from Federal Reserve
officials, with Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren saying the
Fed should raise rates three more times in 2017 and his Chicago
peer Charles Evans saying he favours further interest rate
Miners posted the biggest gains on the benchmark led by
Fortescue Metals Group, which rose 2 percent as steel
and iron ore futures in China jumped more than 3 percent on
Base metal prices were also upbeat. Rio Tinto and
BHP Billiton rose about 1.3 percent each. BHP, which
also has significant oil and gas interests, benefited from an
overnight rise in oil prices.
The energy index cashed in on higher oil, rising 1
percent. Oil and gas major Woodside Petroleum and
smaller rival Beach Energy, rose 1.4 percent and 5
Financials maintained their momentum, rising 0.3
percent. Three of the "Big Four" banks rose in a range of 0.2
percent to 0.5 percent. ANZ shares, however, were flat.
"Banks have moved a little higher on margin expansion.
They've lifted their investment lending rates by 12 – 15 basis
points at a time when the Reserve Bank is a little hamstrung in
raising interest rates at all," Burton added.
New Zealand's benchmark index rose for a third
session, up 0.3 percent, or 20.82 points, to 7154.39.
Consumer and healthcare stocks led the gains with Skycity
Entertainment 1.5 percent higher, and Fisher & Paykel
Healthcare Corp up 0.8 percent.
On the other hand, utilities posted minor losses with
Meridian Energy and Contact Energy slipping
1.1 percent and 0.6 percent respectively.
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(Reporting by Rushil Dutta; Additional reporting by Susan
Mathew in Bengaluru)